- "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy": Supreme Court
- Court told Maharashtra to file response to petition challenging arrests
- The activists will kept under house arrest till September 6
While granting reprieve to five activists who were arrested yesterday under an anti-terror law on charges of Maoist activities, the Supreme Court today said: "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy".
The court said poet and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao and activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves, will be under house arrest till the next hearing on September 6.
"Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If you don't allow the safety valve pressure cooker will burst," said the five-judge bench led by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The court asked the Maharashtra government to file a response to the petition challenging the arrests. The activists will kept under house arrest till September 6, said a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The Pune police claims that the activists were linked to a bigger conspiracy and planning to recruit members from 35 colleges and launch attacks.
The activists have been charged under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which authorizes raids and arrest without warrant if a person is suspected to "support terrorist acts or unlawful activities".
The police say the arrest of the activists follow the arrest of five other activists earlier this year in June, when the police retrieved a huge amount of data.
Those arrested earlier were charged with the January 1 clashes that broke out at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune, between Dalits and upper caste Marathas at an annual event.
Police say that the fresh round of arrests were of individuals also behind the caste clashes, but - in a seeming contradiction - also said they are yet to determine "how the accused succeeded in inciting the violence".