New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that it would examine on September 19 the materials submitted by the Maharashtra government in the arrest of five human rights activists and said if a prima facie ground is established against their involvement it would set up a special investigation team for a probe.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra heading a three-judge bench made this oral observation when senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the five activists, insisted on a probe by a SIT or a court-monitored investigation in the arrest of the activists on August 28 for their alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon violence.
The CJI told the counsel “We entertained the case on the foundations of liberty, which is sacrosanct. Issues like independent inquiry etc, can come at a later stage. If the material relied up by the Pune Police are found to be “cooked up”, then we may even quash the charges against them.” The Chief Justice said, “The court could not be expected to make up its mind unless it saw all the material evidence against the activists.
First of all, we must have a look at the material. If we see the material and find they are cooked up, we will definitely order the setting up of an SIT... the debate here has to be whether the Criminal Procedure Code was violated. Wherever this court has appointed SIT, there has been grave violation.” The bench was hearing petitions filed by Dr. Romila Thapar and others challenging the arrest of five activists. On August 29, the court had directed that they be kept under ‘house arrest’ and this has been extended till September 19, when it would examine the materials.