The Delhi High Court has deferred hearing the petition of Gautam Navlakha against the order issued by Chief Metrapolitan Magistrate,Saket giving transit remand to Maharashtra police in relation to alleged involvement in Bhima-Koregaon violence.
The Division Bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel adjourned the matter to September 14, noting that the Supreme Court is seized of the issue of arrests of Navlakha and four other activists. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had ordered that the activists should be kept in their houses only until September 6, the next hearing date.
"As the Supreme Court has, by the aforementioned interim order, extended the house arrest of the Petitioner, this Court does not consider it appropriate to proceed further. It will await the further orders of the Supreme Court", the bench said. It may be noted that on August 28, the day of arrest of Gautam Navlakha, the Delhi HC was moved in an urgent petition, upon which the Court stayed the transit remand order issued by the CMM till August 29.
In fact, on Wednesday afternoon the Delhi HC had heard the matter in detail and even started dictating the order. However, the Court halted the proceedings on being informed of the Supreme Court order in the petition filed by Romila Thapar and few others against the arrests of Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves. The matter was adjourned to yesterday by the Court to ascertain the contents of the SC order.
During the course of hearing on Wednesday, the High Court made certain significant observations, doubting the validity of arrest of Gautam Navlakha. The Court noted that the FIR and the arrest memo were prepared in Marathi, a language not known to Navlakha. In that backdrop, the bench asked whether the arrest could be termed as legal as Navlakha was not made aware of the grounds of arrest.
The Court also indicated that there were procedural lapses in the remand order issued by the CMM. Justice Muralidhar excalimed how the magistrate granted transit remand without perusing the arrest documents in the language (Marathi) of a different state, and said, “We would examine the legality of the whole petition, including the order of the Metropolitan Magistrate. Did she look upon the case diary? She should have been extra careful and satisfied. It’s apparent. She could not have applied mind in understanding these papers.”
Indicating that if the remand order was set aside by it, in which case, the state police would have to exercise the entire arrest procedure again, the bench stared dictating the order when at around 5.03 pm, ASG Aman Lekhi Lekhi interjected and told the court that the Supreme Court had already stayed the transit remand order and ordered all five accused, including Gautam Navlakha, to be placed in house arrest.