Maha govt challenges HC's Bhima-Koregaon order in SC

Maha govt challenges HC's Bhima-Koregaon order in SC

The Maharashtra government on Thursday approached the Supreme Court, challenging the Bombay High Court's judgement that set aside an order granting additional 90 days to the Pune police to file charge sheet against five activists arrested in a case related to Bhima-Koregaon violence.

The accused can now seek default bail if the investigation is not completed within statutory period of 90 days.

Advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, representing the state government, mentioned the petition before a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi for urgent hearing. The court agreed to list it on Monday.

In its plea, the state government contended that the high court in its order on October 24 “resorted to pedantic view rather than resorting to pragmatic view”. According to the proviso of Section 43-D(2)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act the court should be satisfied with a report of the public prosecutor on progress of investigation and can allow detention of the accused beyond a period of 90 days.

Despite the public prosecutor having given a report on August 30, the high court was “carried away” by the signature of investigating officer to conclude it was not endorsed by the public prosecutor.

The Pune police had arrested five activists Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut on the charges of being active members of banned organisation, CPI (Maoist), allegedly involved in activities threatening the unity and integrity of the country. The FIR in the case was lodged on January 8 on a complaint alleging inflammatory speeches and songs by the accused on December 31, last year resulting in violence in Bhima-Koregaon.

On September 2, the special judge had extended the period of investigation by additional 90 days. On a challenge by the accused, the high court set aside the order, which may now enable the accused to seek default bail.