The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of the Maharashtra government’s petition challenging the Bombay High Court’s refusal to extend the 90-day limit for filing a chargesheet in the Bhima-Koregaon case. The Pune Police had arrested five activists on June 6 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged role in the violence in Bhima-Koregaon on January 1.
Arrest under the Act requires a chargesheet to be filed within 90 days. A special court in Pune granted the police 90 more days two days before the deadline was to expire. The Bombay High Court quashed the order on October 24, prompting the Maharashtra government to move the top court. On October 29, the Supreme Court stayed the Bombay High Court order declining an extension to the file the chargesheet.
The top court had earlier asked the Maharashtra government to submit the “gist” of the allegations and the investigation by December 8.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing one of the accused, asked the court to adjourn the hearing, PTI reported. “We cannot hear this today in any case,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. “We have not read the documents [chargesheet], running into 8,000 pages.”
The court suggested that the hearing be adjourned without fixing a date for resumption of proceedings. Jaising opposed this, saying that the hearing be held on January 8 as all the accused are in jail. “You cannot have it both ways!” the bench replied, but agreed to fix a date for the next hearing soon.