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Bhima-Koregaon: Activists to exercise other legal options says, advocate


ANI New Delhi [India]
Activists have other legal options and will exercise them in an appropriate legal forum, said senior advocate Vrinda Grover while commenting on the Supreme Court's verdict on extending the house arrest of five detained activists.
The Supreme Court on Friday turned down the request to set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence case and extended the house arrest of five activists for four more weeks.
Elaborating on the verdict, senior advocate Vrinda Grover said, "The majority judgment has said that they do not see any reason to suspect the investigation being carried out by the police. This house arrest has already completed one month and it has now been extended for one month. (Whereas) Justice Chandrachud in his minority judgment strongly opined that there is a reason to have very serious doubts upon this investigation and to seek a SIT probe. He was also of the opinion that they (activists) should have a right, a protection to be given bail. We have other legal options now and we will exercise them in an appropriate legal forum."
The five activists namely poet Vara Vara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj, activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha have been under house arrest since August 29. They were detained on August 28 from various cities for their alleged involvement in the case.
Speaking on similar lines, another senior advocate Prashant Bhushan termed the majority judgment "a bit unfortunate". He said, "The minority judgment of Justice Chandrachud, however, says it all. He said that this seems to be a totally unfair investigation and Maharashtra police have behaved unfairly in several ways firstly by trying to use media to spread these alleged letters, the veracity of which is in question. There are several things which according to Justice Chandrachud indicate why the investigation was proceeding unfairly and that is why he in his judgment had ordered a court-monitored SIT. However, the majority bench did not agree with that and they have said that the house arrest will continue for four weeks in which time the petitioners will be in liberty to approach any lower court for whatever relief they want."
Senior lawyer Nalin Kohli elaborated on the judgment while highlighting the key points of the majority judgment. He said, "The Supreme Court Bench with majority view has in-effect pointed out that the investigation can continue and an accused person cannot choose who his investigator should be in terms of the demands of SIT. The investigation will continue, the accused persons can seek their legal remedies before the appropriate judicial forum, they have time to do so."
Speaking about Justice Chandrachud's dissent, Kohli said, "In his dissenting judgment, he has also acknowledged that in a democracy dissent ceases if it gets into the realm of any kind of activity that may be unlawful. He has looked at the larger issues in terms of addressing the media while an investigation is on because at the end of the day, fundamental rights of every citizen are supreme and investigation and rights have to balance out.

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First Published: Sep 28 2018 | 4:40 PM IST

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