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Bhima Koregaon arrests: Plea filed on Sudha Bharadwaj's behalf in Punjab and Haryana HC withdrawn to take up other remedies

The habeas corpus petition that was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on behalf of Sudha Bharadwaj — one of the five rights activists arrested on 28 August in the Bhima Koregaon case — was withdrawn on Wednesday, with the liberty to take up other remedies as per law.

"We will approach the high court again through Sudha Bharadwaj either under Article 226 of the Constitution or Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. We will also file for a regular bail before the Pune sessions court," advocates RS Bains and Arjun Sheoran were quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday expressed its inclination to dismiss the habeas corpus petition, given that a special leave petition in the matter has been filed before the Supreme Court. The bench, therefore, asked the counsels to withdraw the present habeas corpus petition, which was filed by Ankit Grewal on behalf of Bharadwaj, with liberty to seek remedies available in law.

File image of Sudha Bharadwaj. PTI

File image of Sudha Bharadwaj (L). PTI

This comes the same say the Maharashtra government moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Delhi High Court's order ending the house arrest of Gautam Navlakha, another one of the five activists who were arrested by the Pune Police on 28 August. On Monday, the Delhi High Court had freed Navlakha from house arrest, five weeks after he, along with Bhardwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Arun Ferreira, was arrested.

The day the five activists were arrested, Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered that Bharadwaj remain under house arrest. However, he had stayed her transit remand to Pune till 30 August.

A day after the arrests, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the five activists by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action. The plea calls for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the arrests of the activists.

On 28 September, the top court ruled that the house arrest of the five activists should continue for four more weeks. With a 2-1 majority, the bench had held that the investigative officers were permitted to continue with the inquiry, and that the accused have no say in seeking an investigation of their choice.

The top court had also declined to constitute an SIT, saying that the accused were at liberty to pursue other appropriate remedies. "We don't wish to go into the facts of the case as it may create prejudice," Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar had said.

The Pune Police had arrested the five activists on 28 August in connection with an FIR lodged after the Elgaar Parishad conclave on 31 December, which the police believe triggered the violence at Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on 1 January.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Oct 03, 2018 15:01 PM

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