New Delhi: Observing that liberty of an individual cannot be sacrificed in the alter of conjecture, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to produce at least one best document to justify the arrest of five human rights activists, journalists and lawyers on August 28.
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud after perusing the documents and case diary submitted by the State government in a sealed cover asked the additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta to produce the best document available showing the involvement of the activists. When the ASG told the court that the ‘case diary’ is self explanatory, the CJI asked the ASG “show us your one best document first.
The bench was hearing petitions filed by Dr Romila Thapar and others challenging the arrest of five activists. Thefive activists Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha were taken into custody from different parts of the country on August 28.
The ASG submitted that the police recovered electronic evidence such as phones, laptops and they were given for Forensic examination. Everything is recorded in the case diary. “How can we say we are framing someone? We found concrete materials required to justify the arrest”, the ASG said.
“There is material recovered from their laptops, computers, hard disks, etc. We want your lordships to go through the materials, which will shock the court’s conscience. Don’t make up your mind without going through the materials in full.”
Justice Chandrachud intervened and told the ASG “the court has to look with a hawk’s eye at the case of activists’ arrest in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence....