NEW DELHI: Emphasising that liberty of individuals cannot be curtailed on the basis of conjectures, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said our institutions should be robust enough to accommodate dissent while asking the Maharashtra government to show documents to justify the arrest of five activists in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
The observation by a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra came while hearing the petitions challenging the arrests.
“We cannot stifle liberty on the altar of conjectures. We will look at all these attempts with the hawk’s eyes. Our institutions should be robust enough when there is an opposition to the system or even to this court. Then there has to be something different to constitute subversion of law and order as far as elected government is concerned,” Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
“Let us make a clear-cut distinction between opposition and attempts to create disturbance, overthrow government etc.,” he added.
Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra government, sought to justify the arrests made on the basis of the alleged incriminating materials collected during the probe. “Dissent is fine, but it is also important who is saying it.
If the leader of a banned outfit says it, this will have a different connotation,” he said.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, representing Tushar Damgude, the complainant in the case, echoed this view and said, “There must be a distinction between a dissenting view and a criminal act.”The arguments will continue on Thursday.
‘Institutions should be robust enough’
“We cannot stifle liberty on the altar of conjectures... Our institutions should be robust enough when there is an opposition to the system or even to this court,” Justice D Y Chandrachud said.