In an interesting development in the case of his illegal arrest, social activist Arun Ferreira has filed a petition before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court seeking declaration that the state has violated his fundamental rights of liberty, speedy trial and freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution of India and also directing the state to apologize to Ferreira and pay him a sum of Rs.25 lakh as compensation.
Advocate Surendra Gadling, who represents Ferreira in the case, said that the 65-pagepetition which was filed on Tuesday, has even sought to book the police and jail officials for act of forcible abduction of Ferreira. “In our petition, we have sought a high level judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge or sitting sessions judge to inquire into the practice of abduction from prison and the re-arrest immediately after his release and have also sought other reliefs in the High court today. We have also sought that theinvestigating agency or the officer should receive, record and register my complaintdated 27.9.2011 and other Advocates as a First Information Report (FIR) of a cognizable offence and conduct investigation and further proceedings according to law. Justice A. H. Joshi (vacation judge) was pleased to pass the an order serving notice before admission of this petition and the Assistant Government Pleader waived the service of notice to the state government, superintendent of police – Gadchiroli, superintendent of Nagpur Central Jail and Dhatroli police station,” said advocate Gadling, adding that the matter has been posted to January 23.
It may be recalled that after spending four years and four months in prison as an under-trial in Nagpur Central Jail, during which his lawyer said he was subjected to various degrees of torture, Arun was cleared of all charges. On September 27, last year, as family members, supporters and well-wishers waited outside the jail premises for him to walk to freedom, moments after he emerged, unidentified persons forcibly caught him in front of the jail gate, gagged him with their hands, and holding him by his neck, dragged and pushed him into a numberless Tata Sumo, and drove away. Later, it transpired that the abductors were commandoes of the Central Government Offices (CGO), Gadchiroli. All this took place in front of Arun’s family members and his lawyer.
When his lawyer asked the police officials at the jail to intervene, they stayed put and instead, allegedly assaulted and threatened Arun’s lawyer. Later in the evening, the lawyer found out that he had been taken to Purada police station and arrested in a case registered in 2007.