NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the arrests of activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence are not because of dissent and difference in political views. The SC also ruled that the five activists – Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha – will continue to remain under house arrest for four more weeks.
The SC has also declined the plea on behalf of the activists to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case.
While denying the plea, the SC said that the accused persons cannot choose which investigating agencies should investigate the case. “Investigation officers are permitted to continue with the investigation,” the SC said.
The apex court said that the accused are at the liberty to pursue other appropriate remedies. The verdict has been pronounced by a three-judge Bench led by CJI Dipak Misra also comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
However, Justice Chandrachud has dissented yet again in this case as well saying that he is unable to agree with views of the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar.
“Technicalities should not be allowed to override substantive justice,” Justice Chandrachud said. He also came down heavily on the Pune Police for holding a press conference immediately after the SC passed an interim order.
“Letter alleged to be written by Sudha Bhardwaj was flashed on a TV channel, Police selectively disclosing probe details to media casting cloud on the fairness of the investigation. Acts of Maharashtra police raises a question whether Maharashtra police can be trusted to carry out the investigation,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Dissenting with his fellow judges, Justice Chandrachud said that an SIT should be formed. “Voices of opposition cannot be muzzled because it is a dissent. Deprivation of liberty cannot be compensated later,” he said.