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Bombay High Court Dismisses Bail Application Of Gautam Navlakha In Bhima Koregaon Case- Read Order

Sharmeen Hakim
8 Feb 2021 8:52 AM GMT
Bombay High Court Dismisses Bail Application Of Gautam Navlakha In Bhima Koregaon Case- Read Order
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The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the bail application of senior journalist and activist - Gautam Navlakha - an accused in the Elgar Parishad – Maoist links case. A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik passed the order on a criminal appeal filed by Navlakha against an order of the special court, which rejected his application for default bail in...

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The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the  bail application of senior journalist and activist - Gautam Navlakha - an accused in the Elgar Parishad – Maoist links case.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik passed the order on a criminal appeal filed by Navlakha against an order of the special court, which rejected his application for default bail in June, last year. He is in prison since his surrender on April, 14 2020.

"We see no reason to interfere with the order of the trial court", said the Court.

Navlakha sought default bail on the grounds that the National Investigating Agency (NIA) had failed to file their chargesheet within the stipulated period of 90 days. The NIA, however, contended that Navlakha was under house arrest for 34 days, between August 29 to October 1, 2018, which was declared illegal by the Delhi High Court. Therefore, it could not be included in his custody period.

The civil liberties activist, through his lawyers Kapil Sibal and Yug Chaudhry, submitted that Navlakha was placed under house arrest, following an order of the court, therefore it would be termed as judicial custody. The order had restricted his movement, making his plea for release, under section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), valid.

Sibal had argued the NIA sought an extension to file their chargesheet, on June 29, last year. By then Navalakha had spent nearly 100 days in prison, taking into account 34 days of custody.

Additional solicitor general SV Raju, representing NIA, argued that the date an accused was produced before the court was relevant not the date of arrest while deciding if she/he should be granted default bail or not.

The Maharashtra police had arrested Navlakha on August 28, 2018 in connection with an FIR lodged following the 'Elgar Parishad' held on December 31, 2017 and the Bhima Koregaon violence, a day after. Through the nationwide crackdown on activists and academics, connected to the conference, the police claimed to bust a larger maoist conspiracy.

The case was later handed over to the NIA.

Navlakha's arrest and subsequent house arrest in August, 2018, was declared illegal by the Delhi High Court. Navlakha then approached the Sessions Court, followed by the High Court and Supreme Court for anticipatory bail. The Supreme Court, on March 16, 2020, directed Navlakha to surrender within three weeks, after rejecting his bail application. His plea seeking an extension in view of the coronavirus pandemic was also rejected. Following this Navlakha surrendered on April 14.

Click here to download Order

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