NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday reprimanded the Pune police for ‘casting aspersions’ on the court during a press briefing on the arrest of five activists in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case.
The SC also extended the house arrest of the activists — Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha — till September 12, when it will take up the plea filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others.
A visibly upset Justice D Y Chandrachud, who along with Justice A M Khanwilkar was part of a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, referred to the statements of an Assistant Commissioner of Police of Pune that the SC should not have entertained the plea against the activists’ arrest.
“I watched the press briefing by the Assistant Commissioner, Pune which insinuated that the Supreme Court should not have intervened at this stage. He has no business saying that and casting aspersions on the Supreme Court Judges,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Maharashtra government, immediately apologised for the action of the police officer.
“Tell him we have taken it very seriously ... You (law officer) must ask your police officials to be more responsible. The matter is before us and we don’t want to hear from police officials that the SC is wrong,” the judge said.
On the law officer’s submissions that Thapar and others have no locus to file the plea, the bench asked the petitioners whether a third party could intervene in a criminal case.
To this, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Thapar and others, said they were “not third parties” and the issue was larger.