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SC junks review plea by civil liberties activists

The bench unanimously dismissed the appeal, saying “no case for review” of judgment was made out

By Our Legal Correspondent in New Delhi
  • Published 28.10.18, 1:31 AM
  • Updated 28.10.18, 12:13 PM
  • a min read
  •  
Supreme Court (Prem Singh)

A three-judge Supreme Court bench on Friday dismissed the review petition filed by civil liberties activists such as Romila Thapar seeking a court-monitored special investigation team probe into the alleged illegal arrests of five human rights activists and quashing of the FIR against them.

Pune police arrested Gautam Navalakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves on the charges of having Maoist links and a role in the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 1 in which one person was killed.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud unanimously dismissed the appeal, saying “no case for review” of the judgment was made out.

On September 28 Justice Chandrachud had given a dissenting judgment questioning the arrests. But on Friday, he concurred with the views of CJI Gogoi and Justice Khanwilkar that the earlier judgment need not be recalled.

“This review petition has been filed against the judgment dated 28th September, 2018, whereby the writ petition was disposed of by majority decision.

“Prayer for oral hearing is rejected…. We have perused the review petition as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment dated 28th September, 2018, is made out. The review petition is accordingly dismissed,” the official order uploaded on Saturday stated.

Thapar and the others had sought a review of the earlier order on the ground that there were several infirmities in the claims made by Maharashtra police to justify the arrests. The review petitioners had relied on the dissenting order of Justice Chandrachud to drive home the argument that the September 28 judgment ought to be reviewed.

While then CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar had ruled that the arrested activists must approach the appropriate “jurisdictional court” (trial court) for relief, dissenting judge Chandrachud had chastised Maharashtra police and ordered a court-monitored SIT probe.

Following the September 28 verdict the five activists who were under “house arrest” were formally arrested by the police and sent to jail.

Navalakha, Bharadwaj, Rao, Ferreira and Gonsalves were arrested on August 28 from their homes at New Delhi, Faridabad, Mumbai, Thane and Hyderabad.