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For liberty’s sake: on the scope of Article 32 in the activists case

The stage is set for determining the scope of Article 32 in the activists case

The Supreme Court’s intervention(हस्तक्षेप) following the arrest of five prominent activists(कार्यकर्ता) by the Pune police last month has been truly extraordinary(असाधारण) and raises the bar for protection of personal liberty( स्वतंत्रता). The court has granted them the rare relief of remaining in house arrest while it examines the charges against them. It has reserved its decision in the case(मामले/स्थिति) and now must decide on one of the following courses. They are: to allow the police in Maharashtra to pursue(पीछे लगे रहना) its investigation against the activists for allegedly(कथित तौर पर ) being members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and joining a conspiracy(साजिश/मंत्रणा) against the government, to set them at liberty on the ground that this is a trumped-up case, to order a probe by an independent team. The story so far has thrown up a legal(कानूनी/वैध) tussle(संघर्ष/झगड़ा) between the Centre’s contention(विवाद/तकरार) that it is probing a terrorist conspiracy involving(शामिल) Maoist(माओवादी) insurgents(विद्रोहियों) and their urban(नगरीय/ supporters and the counter-argument that this is a thinly disguised crackdown on political dissent. The petitioners(याचिकाकर्ताओं/निवेदक), , led by historian Romila Thapar, have questioned the motivation(प्रेरणा) for the police raids(छापे) on the residences(निवास ) of these activists and a few others in a coordinated(समन्वित) operation across several States. They want those arrested to be released and demand an independent investigation. The Maharashtra and Union governments have sought to defend the arrest and prosecution(अभियोजन पक्ष,), contending(संघर्ष करना/बहस करना) that the case is based on incriminating(संदिग्ध) evidence(सबूत/प्रमाण) seized during the probe and has nothing to do with the ideology or the political views of those under investigation.

In entertaining this petition(याचिका), the Supreme Court has set the stage for an examination of some fundamental questions at the intersection of criminal procedure and constitutional law. The procedural question is whether in a criminal matter the court can entertain a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, under which the Supreme Court enforces fundamental rights, for which the accused(अभियुक्त/मुलजिम) are expected to seek their remedy under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The substantive question is whether the court should intervene when the liberty of citizens and their right to dissent(मतभेद/असहमति) are sought to be denied(अस्वीकृत/ इनकार किया ) by arbitrary(मनमाना/एकपक्षीय) police action. Observations(अवलोकन/निगरानी) that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy” and “personal liberty cannot be sacrificed at the altar of conjecture(अनुमान /अटकल)” indicate the court’s thinking. It is against this backdrop that the Bench has decided to examine the case diary to see whether the charges have some basis. The government may have reason to worry about a precedent being set, whereby every accused can rush(तुरंत/भीड़) to the Supreme Court immediately on arrest. At the same time, one cannot wish away the peculiar(अनोखी)circumstances(परिस्थितियों) in which a case relating to violence at a Dalit commemoration(उत्सव/मनाना) dramatically morphed into a Maoist plot. Further, it is unusual, and even suspicious, that one city’s police is investigating a crime that supposedly spans several States and involves purchase of arms and providing strategic inputs to armed rebellion(विद्रोह/बगावत), instead of handing it over to a national agency.


Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: plot, scheme, sedition, treason, cabal
Antonyms: faithfulness, honesty, ignorance, loyalty

Synonyms: brawl, fray, free-for-all, scuffle, skirmish
Antonyms: agreement, harmony, peace, accord, calm

Synonyms: demonstrator, mutineer, radical, revolutionary, rioter

Synonyms: demonstrator, mutineer, radical, revolutionary, rioter

Synonyms: discord, dissension, disunity, objection, opposition
Antonyms: acceptance, agreement, approval, concurrence, harmony

6.Conjecture(अनुमान /अटकल)
Synonyms: guesswork, hunch, hypothesis, inference, supposition
Antonyms: proof, reality, truth, calculation, certainty

Synonyms: celebration, ceremony, remembrance, tribute, custom
Antonyms: forgetting, neglect, negligence, unobservance

Synonyms: distinct, distinctive, idiosyncratic, particular, personal
Antonyms: common, commonplace, general, indefinite, like

Synonyms: dissent, insurgency, insurrection, revolution, uprising
Antonyms: obedience, orthodoxy, submission, calm, harmony

10.Denied(अस्वीकृत/ इनकार किया )
Synonyms: ban, call on, contradict, oppose, rebuff
Antonyms: OK, accept, allow, approve, ratify

Synonyms: activist, power broker, influence peddler, mover and shaker, person of influence



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