The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the house arrest of five arrested activists till 12 September, while coming down heavily on Maharashtra Police, which had held an extraordinary press conference even when the matter was pending before the top court.
The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud lashed out at the police for casting aspersions on Supreme Court. Justice Chandrachud said that Pune Police’s Assistant Commissioner of Police had cast aspersions on the integrity of the top court.
“I saw Assistant Police Commissioner, Pune insinuating that SC should not have intervened at this stage. He has no business telling that”, Justice Chandrachud to Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Maharashtra government.
He directed the Maharashtra government to direct its police to be more responsible when the matter is in the court. He added, “You must ask your police officials to be more responsible. The matter is before us and we don’t want to hear from police officials that the Supreme Court is wrong.”
Last month, the Pune Police had arrested five known Dalit rights activists namely Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves for their alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January this year. Violence had erupted during the Elgaar Parishad event, organised to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon. The date is observed by Dalit groups in memory of what they consider was their victory over the upper caste Peshwas.
The Pune Police had obtained the transit remand from a lower court in Delhi to take the arrested activists to Pune, but the Supreme Court had stayed the order and agreed to hear the matter on 6 September (today).