NEW DELHI: The fate of five activists in house arrest in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case will be decided by Supreme Court on Friday.
The top court will announce the verdict on a plea by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala and others seeking the immediate release of five activisits – Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha – who have been in house arrest since August 29.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising of Justices A M Khaniwlkar and D Y Chandrachud had reserved the judgment on September 20.
The apex court had on September 19 said it would look into the case with a "hawk's eye" as "liberty cannot be sacrificed at the altar of conjectures".
It had also rapped the Maharashtra government, following a press conference by a senior police officer on the matter.
Democratic institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition and that a distinction has to be drawn between an opposition, attempt to create a disturbance or overthrow the government, the SC said earlier.
Observing that the liberty could not be stifled at the altar of conjecture, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachgud said: "our institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition either to the system or even to this court. We will look at this case with a hawk`s eye."
The Maharashtra police on August 28 arrested the five activists in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave -- 'Elgaar Parishad' -- held on December 31 last year that had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in the state.
The police claimed that the activists have links to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The raids triggered strong criticism against the police, leading the cops to defend and claim that they had strong evidence against the arrested activists.