A Pune-based man, who had lodged an FIR in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence that led to the arrest of five human rights activists, moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking that he be made a party in the plea filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said it would hear the plea on September 6 when the petition filed by Thapar and four others will come up for hearing.
The plea filed by Tushar Damgude sought that he be made a party in the pending case as it was he who had lodged the FIR in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence last year.
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The top court had earlier ordered that the five human rights activists would be kept under house arrest till September 6 observing that dissent was the "safety valve" of democracy.
While granting relief to activists Varavara Rao, Arun Farreira, Vernon Gonzalves, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navalakha, the top court did not consider the vehement opposition of Maharashtra government challenging the locus of the petitioners, Thapar and four others, seeking relief on their behalf, and calling them "strangers".
The Maharashtra Police had arrested them 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. The state had challenged the petitioners' locus, dubbing them as "strangers".
The plea, by Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpandey and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala, has sought an independent probe into the arrests and their immediate release.
Prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, while activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira were nabbed from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad in Haryana and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha was arrested from New Delhi.