New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Bombay High Court order disallowing more time to the Maharashtra Police to investigate five activists accused of being linked to a banned Maoist outfit and file a charge-sheet.
The Bombay High Court by its October 24 order had set aside the Special Court's order permitting another 90 days time to the police to complete its investigation against Surendra Pundlik Gadling, Sudhir Pralhad Dhawale, Rona Jacob Wilson, Soma Sen and Mahesh Sitaram Raut.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph, while staying the Bombay High Court order, issued notice to another activist, Gautam Navlakha, who was granted bail by the Delhi High Court.
According to The Hindu, the apex court asked activist Navlakha to respond in two weeks to a petition moved by the Maharashtra government against a Delhi High Court order to set aside his transit remand in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case and release him from house arrest.
Hearing senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for the State, who questioned how a plea for habeas corpus could be filed when the Supreme Court had ordered Mr. Navalakha’s house arrest, Chief Justice Gogoi said: “Personal liberty is involved here,” The Hindu said.
Navlakha was released from house arrest on October 1 by the Dehi HC, which quashed a magistrate court's order granting transit remand to the Maharashtra police to transfer him to Pune.
"Seeking a stay of the October 1 order, the State has contended that the High Court erred in releasing Mr. Navlakha on the basis of habeas corpus petition filed by him. The government argued that a habeas corpus petition would not lie in a case where the arrest and remand was based on an order of a court of law," The Hindu reported.
Navlakha and four others -- Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves -- have been accused of suspected links with the outlawed CPI (Maoist) following investigation in the Bhima Koregaon case. They have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Gadling, Dhawale, Wilson, Sen and Raut too have been accused of links with CPI (Maoist) and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Special Court in Maharashtra had on September 2 granted the extension of 90 days time to the police as is permissible under Section 43D(2)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Assailing the High Court order setting aside the Special Court order, the Maharashtra petition has contended that the High Court has "resorted to a pedantic view rather than resorting to a pragmatic view".
It has further stated that the investigating officer has filed a report of the application under his signature giving reasons for extension of time on August 30, 2018. The very same day the public prosecutor submitted her report/application carving out the grounds for extension of time.
The matter relates to alleged singing of "objectionable songs" and instigating comments, speeches and sloganeering by Dhawale and others on December 31, 2017.
Accusing the five activists of links with the CPI (Maoist), the Maharashtra government alleged that they mislead the backward people and ingrained radical Maoist thoughts in their minds.