Not unjust to refuse books to Elgar Parishad case accused: Court
A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court recently disposed of an application filed by Gautam Navlakha and Hany Babu, both arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, for books in prison, saying that it was within the power of the jail to allow articles to undertrial prisoners.
Babu and Navlakha, lodged in Taloja prison, had approached the court on December 29, 2020, through their lawyers Yug Mohit Chaudhry and Chandni Chawla, claiming that they were denied access to newspapers and were not allowed to get books sent by their families and friends through courier. The two, in their separate pleas, had claimed that the parcels containing books were returned by the prison authority.
The court in its detailed order released on January 26, observed: “The prison authority is supposed to take care of the security of the prison. Therefore, I do think that the prison authority has committed any unjust act by refusing the parcel.” The court also said that it would not be just to (sic) pass any order as it would be within the province of the jail authority to accept articles for the undertrial prisoners if attempted to be delivered by their relatives or near ones.
The special court said that family members and near ones may approach the prison authority to deliver books.
Earlier, on January 12, the same court had allowed access to books from outside the prison, to activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, another accused in the case.
During the hearing, Babu’s wife professor Jenny Rowena and Navlakha’s friend Dr Shrimoyee Ghosh had filed an affidavit before the court claiming their parcels containing books were returned.
Rowena claimed in the affidavit that she had sent parcels to her husband between September 15 and September 22, containing three books — Sea of Poppies, A Man Called Ove and Last Train to Istanbul.
“A week later, the parcel containing the books was returned with an endorsement in Marathi of ‘Covid Suraksha’,” she had said.
Similarly, Dr Ghosh had sent a parcel in August to the activist, containing the books The World of Jeeves by PG Wodehouse and Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James C Scott. Gosh claimed that the books were returned with a remark stating that they were not accepted for security reasons.
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