In a major relief to the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Bombay High Court order refusing to extend the 90-day deadline to file a charge sheet against five human rights activists in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice L Nageswara Rao upheld the extension of time granted to the Pune Police by the Special Court of Pune.
The five activists will now have to seek regular bail and are not entitled to default bail which is granted at the lapse of the prescribed 90-day period.
The activists – Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested on June 6 last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which requires a charge sheet to be filed within 90 days of arrest.
A special court in Pune had granted the police 90 additional days just two days before the deadline was to expire. However, the Bombay High Court had set aside the order on October 24 last year, following which the Maharashtra government approached the top court.
Violence had erupted during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in January last year, leaving one dead and several others injured.