“Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, democracy will burst under pressure. There are wider issues raised by them (petitioners). Concern raised is that you are quelling dissent. Democracy is not safe if you quell dissent and that is what they are worried about,” observed Justice Chandrachud.
The Supreme court on Wednesday stepped in after Romila Thapar and other prominent citizens petitioned against the arrest of five civil rights activists, writers and lawyers. It ordered the Pune police to place them under house arrest, after cancellation of transit remand, specifically mentioning “in their own homes” till the next hearing comes up on September 6th.
In response to the petition filed on Wednesday, 29.8.2018, by eminent historian Romila Thapar, Devaki Jain, Prabhat Pattnaik, Satish Deshpande and Maja Daruwala on behalf of the five arrested activists, the Supreme court bench , comprising the Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, Justice D Y Chandrachud along with Justice A M Khanwilkar, directed the Maharashtra government to file a response by September 5th.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued the case for the Maharashtra government, demanding further custody of the activists.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi was the counsel for the petitioners who argued the case saying that the arrested five activists had impeccable educational qualifications and the FIR had no mention of them. He also mentioned that two retired judges were part of the Elgaar Parishad gathering in Pune on December 31st, 2017.