The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to reject an appeal for a fair and impartial investigation made on behalf of five eminent intellectuals and human rights activists arrested by the Pune police on August 28, will shock many. It’s no less a surprise, the court should also explicitly disregard the plea that dissent was being criminalised.
The majority judgment by CJI Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar is spectacularly at variance with the dissenting judgment of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who not only backed the plea for a special investigation under the court’s supervision.
Mercifully, the order allows the charged intellectuals to stay under house arrest for another four weeks. In this time, they may seek legal remedies. This time is also given to the police to wrap up its investigations.
It’s not clear though if the activists will be handed over to the police for custodial interrogation after this period if they haven’t got bail by then. That will be a travesty. Already, the police is trying to link the accused with bizarre plots to assassinate the PM. People will smell a rat if the police continues on that track.