The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the house arrest of five human right activists, arrested by the Maharashtra police for their alleged links with the Naxals, till 17 September.

Extending its interim order putting them under house arrest, a Bench ~ headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud ~ adjourned the hearing on the petition ~ filed by five eminent citizens including historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpandey, and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala ~ to 17 September.

The top court was hearing the petition filed against the arrest of five leading rights activists and lawyers ~ including Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha ~ in the case. The apex court was reportedly informed that the wife of Surinder Gadling, one of the activists arrested earlier, had filed an intervention application on their behalf challenging their arrests. A plea was made that the top court may treat her intervention application as a writ petition.

The Maharashtra police had arrested the five activists on 28 August after multi-city raids on their premises in connection with an FIR lodged following a public meeting, Elgaar Parishad, held on 31 December last year in Pune that was alleged to have led to violence at Koregaon-Bhima village between Dalits and upper caste people on 1 January this year.

The arrests of the activists triggered widespread anguish and outrage among civil society, human rights and civil liberties groups.