The Madras High Court has ruled that the Q Branch police, Coimbatore unit, cannot seek further custody of the five left-wing radicals, once their interrogation period ends on May 14. The five Maoists – Roopesh, his wife Shyna, Anup, Kannan and Eswaran – were arrested from Karumathampatty on May 4. Two days later, a sessions court granted the Q Branch police to take them under custody for 10 days for interrogation. Meanwhile, K Kesavan, the Joint Secretary of the Center for Protection of Civil Liberties and one of the lawyers representing the five Maoists, had appealed to the Madras High Court challenging the custody granted to the police. The petition came up before Justice M M Sundresh.
The lawyers argued that the vacation bench of the district sessions court had granted custody of the five Maoists without looking into the merits of the case made out by the police. Kesavan said that Justice Sundresh ruled that “It is not open to them (the Q branch police) to file any more applications seeking further custody (of the Maoists).” Invoking the landmark ruling made by a Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, that mere membership of a banned organisation does not equate to criminality, unless the suspect in question resorts or incites people to violence, Kesavan said that the police had simply foisted a case against his clients. “They were having tea at a bakery in Karumathampatty. That does not in any way signify criminality,” he told Express.