New Delhi, Aug 29: The Supreme Court while refusing to stay the arrests of the five activists arrested on charges of being sympathetic towards naxals has issued notices to the government of Maharashtra.
The court however said that all the persons would be under house arrest for now. This is an interim order and all contentions would be kept alive, the court also said,
The court said that the notices would be returnable by Tuesday. Hearing on the matter would resume on Thursday next. During the hearing, the court said that dissent is the safety value of democracy. If dissent is not allowed then the safety valve will burst.
The petition was moved by five eminent persons questioning the action by the Pune police, which carried out raids across the nation on Tuesday. During the course of the hearing, the Centre told the court that this petition is not maintainable and has been filed by strangers. The petitioners however contended that the arrests were conducted randomly and hence are illegal and arbitrary in nature.
The petition was mentioned before the Bench by Abhishek Manu Singvi. The petition moved by Romila Thapar, Devaki Jain, Prabhat Patnaik, Maya Daruwala and Satish Deshpande have sought an independent probe into the arrests made by the police.
They further said that the arrest and slapping roof the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is an attempt to muzzle the voice of dissent. They sought the immediate stay of the arrests and release of the five persons. Further they have asked the SC to seek an explanation from the Maharashtra government. The petitioners also urged the SC to scrutinise and investigate the charges slapped against the five persons.
Following a nation wide raid, the Pune police arrested five alleged naxal sympathisers from different parts of the country. The five arrested include Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Fereira and Gautam Navlakha.
Pune's joint commissioner of police, Shivaji Bodkhe said that the five persons were arrested on the basis of incriminating evidence. The fresh arrests were made following the investigation and evidence collected post the other five arrests that were made on June 6, he also said. He further said that the police are probing the organising and funding of the Elgar Parishad during which provocative speeches were made, following which violence broke out. This had contributed to the Koregaon Bhima violence.