A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Friday extended the house arrest of five activists arrested by the Pune Police last month in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon by four weeks.
It also dismissed requests by the lawyers of reputed academicians, including Romila Thapar, who had approached the apex court about conducting a court-monitored inquiry through a Special Investigation Team (SIT).
Justice AM Khanwilkar said accused persons do not have a say in which investigating agency should probe the case against them.
The judgement authored by Justice Khanwilkar for himself and Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that it was not a case of arrest for dissent and that there were no particular facts that established mala fide intention on the part of the police. The activists were given the liberty to pursue other legal remedies, Live Lawreported.
Justice DY Chandrachud dissented from the majority to say that the arrests were without any basis. He said that the Maharashtra police was biased and held that a court-monitored investigation by SIT was necessary. "Court has to be vigilant to ensure the liberty of those who take up unpopular causes. Voices of opposition cannot be muzzled because it is a dissent," he noted.
On 28 August, the Pune police arrested five prominent activists—Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao.