The Supreme Court today asked the Chhattisgarh government to give advanced notice of four weeks to social activist and Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar and others before proceeding against them in the case relating to the alleged murder of a tribal man in Naxal-affected areas of the state.
The apex court also took on record the assurance given by the state government that Sundar and others, who have been booked for the alleged murder, will not be arrested or interrogated as of now.
A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Adarsh Goel granted liberty to Sundar and others to approach the court if any notice of arrest or interrogation is served upon them.
"ASG Tushar Mehta says that Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad, Vineet Tiwari and others will not be arrested or interrogated. State government is directed to give four weeks advance notice before proceeding in the case. Liberty to petitioners to approach court after the notice is served," the bench said.
The bench, however, refused to entertain Sundar's plea that the state should first take permission from the court before arresting or interrogating her and other activists in the case.
"No, they can't be stopped perpetually. If there is a crime, they need to proceed. It is their statutory right. They will first give you notice and then they can proceed," the bench said, adding that the activist can approach the court after the notice is served.
The bench also did not take on record ASG Mehta's statement, saying that when a statement has already been made that they would not be arrested, then nothing else was required.
"We don't need to look at everything. You have made astatement. Now it is on record. You will have to give advance notice. As and when you want to proceed, show us the material," the bench said.
On November 7, Delhi University Professor Sundar, JNU professor Archana Prasad and others were booked on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
Later in the day, Nandini Sundar submitted a proposal before the Supreme Court, saying that a former judge of the apex court should mediate between Left-wing extremists and the government to initiate peace talks.
"The presence of a third party. In all previous dialogues, a third party, whether in the FARC-Colombian government talks or the Church in the Mizoram accord, has played a critical role.
"Third party mediators should contain representatives of major political parties and also those with judicial legal experience and credentials," the proposal said.
She also suggested some confidence-building measures like immediate ceasefire, reparations to the victims regardless of their perpetrators, release of prisoners and a full survey of all damages caused by the conflict and compensation thereof.
The proposal was vehemently opposed by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta saying if any proposal from the petitioners side is considered, then the bench should also take into account the material provided by the state.
He said the state government material, kept in a sealed cover, was "contemporaneous record" which the bench should consider.
The bench, however, said it was not going to look into anything as the state government has already made a statement that Sundar and others will not be arrested or interrogated.
(With PTI inputs)