The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the arrest of Pune-based women’s rights activist Trupti Desai in a case filed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, PTI reported. The police registered a case against the activist, her husband, and four others in July for allegedly assaulting a doctor from Ahmednagar district.

The top court sought the Maharashtra government’s response to a petition that Desai moved against the Bombay High Court’s April 23 order, rejecting her anticipatory bail application.

The High Court had refused to go into the merits of the allegations, and said the case was valid even though Vijay Makasare, the complainant, had informed the police about the alleged incident a few days after it had occurred. “Once this complaint is perused in its entirety, particularly in the backdrop of the provisions of the SC/ST Act and the mandate of Section 18 thereof, we cannot term this complaint as a patent false version,” the High Court ruled.

Makasare claimed that Desai had approached him to join her organisation. When he decided against it, Desai allegedly requested him to drive her to Mumbai, saying she had work in the city. He was then allegedly beaten up by her husband and four others on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. Desai and her husband allegedly snatched his mobile phones. They also made casteist remarks, and robbed him of his gold chain worth Rs 15,000 and Rs 27,000 in cash, Makasare alleged.

Desai had led an agitation in 2015 demanding that women be allowed to enter the Shani Shignapur Temple in Ahmednagar. She has led similar protests for women’s entry into Kolhapur’s Mahalakshmi Temple and the Lord Shiva Temple near Nashik. In February 2017, she was detained along with three members of her outfit in Pune for attempting to beat up a murder accused.