Bhima-Koregaon violence: Maharashtra govt moves SC against HC order on HR activists

Mumbai: In a swift action, the Maharashtra government on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the orders passed by the Bombay High Court, quashing the orders of trial court by which the custody of advocate Surendra Gadling and other activists was extended by an additional 90 days.

The trial court, by its orders, had also granted extra time to the Pune police for filing its charge sheet against Gadling and others. This order was challenged before the HC bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar. Before the HC, Gadling argued that the prosecution as also the trial court breached provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) by extending the custody and time frame to file a charge sheet.

The anti-terror law mandates the public prosecutor to file a report/application before the court spelling out progress of the probe and also specific grounds for seeking an extension of custody. In the instant case, however, the prosecutor failed to file such a report and instead the investigating officer filed the application and even argued before the trial court seeking extension of custody and time frame to file a charge sheet.

Justice Bhatkar in her detailed judgment held the trial court’s order as illegal and quashed the same. Her orders have paved the way for release of Gadling and others, who were arrested for their alleged links with Naxals. They are also accused of having conspired to kill PM Narendra Modi.

Aggrieved by the orders passed on Wednesday, the government on Thursday moved the apex court claiming Justice Bhatkar had taken a too much ‘technical’ view while dealing with Gadling’s plea. “The High Court has taken a pedantic view rather thana pragmatic view,” the plea reads. In case the impugned order is not stayed, probably, the accused may come out of custody, which may be prejudicial to the investigation,” the plea filed by the government reads.

The government even mentioned the plea before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi through its standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar. The bench, headed by CJI Gogoi, has ordered that the matter be heard on Monday.

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