Day 3 Arguments: 12th September, 2018
A bench comprising Chief Justice Misra, Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Chanrdachud continued hearing the arrested activist case today. The Court is considering whether it can order an independent investigation of the Maharashtra Police's arrest of five human rights activist on August 28th.
In the previous hearing last week, Mr. Tushar Mehta appearing for the Union questioned the locus standi of the petitioners. Meaning, he questioned how the petitioners could even request the Court to look into the matter, given that they are not related to the human rights activists.
The Court has adjourned the hearing until Monday, 17th September. The interim order, which transfered the activists from prison to house-arrest, will continue.
The respondent's counsel, Mr. Tushar Mehta, requested the adjournement. One of the main counsels for the petitioners, Mr. A.M. Singhvi, could not be present. He was stuck in another court.
Regarding the simultaneous Delhi High Court hearing on the matter, counselor Ms. Warisha Farasat inquired whether that hearing could continue. Mrs. Farasat represents Mr. Gautam Navlakha, one of the arrested activists. She wondered how the Delhi High Court could have jurisdiction over the matter, given that the case is being heard by the Supreme Court. The Bench responding by asking her whether the Supreme Court petition was also behalf of Mr. Navlakha. Ms. Farasat responded affirmatively and, further, pointed out that the Supreme Court petition covers a much broader scope. Remember that Mr. Gautam Navlakha, like all the other arrested activists, is not a petitioner in the Supreme Court case. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court hearing directly pertains to his arrest.
Today's brief hearing was marked by a loud disagreement between Mr. Anand Grover and Mr. Tushar Mehta. Mr. Anand Grover represents an intervenor, the wife of a lawyer who was arrested in June. Mr. Tushar Mehta represent the Union and by extesnion the Police's interests. Mr. Anand Grover sought permission to file additional documents. This was followed by a heated argument between Tushar Mehta and Anand Grover, as Mr. Mehta again brought up the locus standi issue. Mr. Mehta questioned how the petitioners could come to the Supreme Court, given that the arrested activists were pursuing remedies in the appropriate lower courts. Mr. Grover responed angrily, highlighting that his client is a lawyer, but is unable to argue his own plea for bail due to his imprisonment. Yelling and screaming insued.
The matter will be heard next on 17th September.
(Court reporting by Disha Chaudhry)