SC records details of five arrested activists

Gautam Navlakha, one of the arrested activists. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Gautam Navlakha, one of the arrested activists. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar  

Three faced prosecution, but were absolved in most cases

The Supreme Court judgement on Friday refusing to grant relief to the five arrested rights activist in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case has given a graphic description of their activities and the earlier cases against them for their alleged links with outlaws, including naxals and Maoists.

Three of the five accused had been prosecuted in the past for offences filed under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Arms Act, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They were, however, absolved of all the charges in most of the cases.

11 against Ferreira

The apex court dealt with the arrest of Gautam Navalakha, a human rights activist and New Delhi-based journalist; Sudha Bharadwaj, an IIT graduate who is also an advocate and national green secretary of PUCL; Varavara Rao, a Hyderabad-based poet and a political worker; Arun Ferreira, a Mumbai-based lawyer and Human Rights activist; and Vernon Gonsalves, a Mumbai-based writer.

Prior to the present case, Mr. Ferreira was accused in 11 cases and was acquitted in all of them.

Mr. Gonsalves had 18 cases, according to the majority judgment penned by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar on behalf of himself and Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and he was acquitted in 17 of them.

An appeal is pending in one case.

According to the minority judgment written by D.Y. Chandrachud, however, there were 19 cases filed against Mr. Gonsalves earlier and he was acquitted in 17 of them.

An appeal is pending in one case where Mr. Gonsalves stands convicted, while an application for discharge is pending before the Gujarat High Court in the other case, he noted.

Acquitted in all cases

As for 79-year-old Hyderabad-based poet and political worker Varavara Rao, the majority judgement noted that there were 25 criminal cases registered against him and he was acquitted in all of them. In Justice Chandrachud’s judgement, however, the number is 20.

The Maharashtra police had arrested these five activists on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave, Elgaar Parishad, held on December 31 last year that had allegedly triggered violence later at Koregaon-Bhima village in the state.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 4:04:39 PM |

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