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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Bhima Koregaon case: SC extends Gautam Navlakha’s house arrest till Feb 17

The Supreme Court on Monday extended the house arrest of Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case, till February 17.

A bench headed by Justice KM Joseph said the interim order allowing Navlakha’s house arrest would continue as Additional Solicitor General SV Raju was not available for the hearing today.

Appearing for Navalakh, senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan told the bench that her client’s daughter was living abroad and sought permission if could take a call from her.

She said, “He can’t call an international number. I thought we’d file an application, but while we’re here. I’ll pass on the information to the NIA.”

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Previously, the bench extended to today’s Navlakha house arrest.

On November 10, the Supreme Court, in an interim order, allowed Navlakh to be placed under house arrest for a period of one month, considering his health and old age.

Navlakha had approached the Supreme Court requesting that he be placed under house arrest instead of judicial custody in Maharashtra’s Taloja jail.

The Supreme Court imposed several conditions on Navlakha, including that he is not allowed to use any mobile phone, laptop, communication device, or gadget. He will use the phone provided by the police service.

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He will be allowed to use the phone once a day for 10 minutes in the presence of the police.

The NIA vehemently opposed Navlakhona’s plea that his condition had improved and there was no need to put him under house arrest.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had allowed Maharashtra’s Taloja High Jail to shift jailed activist Navlakha to Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital for medical examination and treatment.

It said that the provision of medical care is a fundamental right of a prisoner.

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On the bench, 70-year-old Navlakha said he had colon cancer and needed a colonoscopy, as well as a check-up for skin allergies and dental problems.

Navlakha had moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s April 26 order rejecting his request for house arrest over concerns of lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities at the Taloja jail near Mumbai, where he is currently lodged.

The Supreme Court said Navlakha’s concerns about the lack of medical assistance and basic facilities at Taloja prison were “unfounded”.

Navlakha, one of several civil liberties activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, was arrested under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the government.

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The Supreme Court had earlier granted bail to 82-year-old activist P Varavar Rao in the case.

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