SC declines to hear plea against Hazare’s arrest on 16 August

SC declines to hear plea against Hazare’s arrest on 16 August

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea challenging the 16 August arrest of Anna Hazare hours before he was to begin his fast demanding a strong Lokpal.

A bench of justices P. Sathasivam and B. S. Chauhan said it would not be proper for the court to entertain the PIL when none of the aggrieved persons were before the court.

The bench said that it may not be proper for it to issue any notice to the government as the issue preceding the arrest has been amicably resolved.

The bench, however, clarified that as and when Hazare or other members of his team want to move the court they would be at liberty to approach it and accordingly, the bench kept the question of law open on the issue.

“At this juncture, is there any need to go into the issue because both the parties have peacefully resolved the issue.

“Supposing Anna Hazare says I am comfortable and why are you going into the issue again then what can we say," the bench asked the petitioner and senior counsel professor Bhim Singh.

The apex court was not convinced with Singh’s argument that the arrest involved not only the violation of fundamental rights of the protesters but encompassed a larger issue of violation of the Article 21 (Right to life and liberty).

The bench pointed out that since the issue of Article 21 and CrPC provision 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences) and 107 (security for keeping the peace in other cases) have been elaborately dealt by the apex court, there was no need to examine the issue afresh.

The apex court had on 26 August declined to issue notice to home minister P. Chidambaram and HRD minister Kapil Sibal for the incident but had kept the matter pending.

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party chief professor Bhim Singh.

The bench had asked Singh if he had obtained Hazare’s consent for filing the petition against his arrest.

Singh had challenged the detention and arrest of Hazare on 16 August hours before he was to launch his fast against corruption.

Singh, in his petition, had sought issuance of notices to Chidambaram and Sibal besides the Union home secretary and the Delhi Police commissioner.

In his petition, Singh had alleged that the Centre and Delhi Police had “acted in a malafide manner" to arrest and detain Hazare and stifled his fundamental right to free speech and liberty guaranteed under Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution.

He urged the court to declare Hazare’s detention as “unconstitutional" and “violative of his fundamental rights" guaranteed under the relevant provisions of the Constitution.

Singh had filed the petition at the time of Hazare’s 16 August arrest, and had also sought physical production of the Gandhian through habeas corpus (production) plea.

Hazare’s subsequent release, however, had rendered his plea for production infructuous.