Maharashtra moves SC against release of activist Gautam Navlakha arrested in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence
New Delhi The Maharshtra government moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday, challenging the Delhi high court order allowing Gautam Navlakha, one of the five rights activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, to be freed from house arrest.
The plea was filed in the apex court registry challenging the high court order, Nishant Katneshwar, counsel for the Maharashtra government, told PTI.
The high court had on Monday freed Navlakha from house arrest, five weeks after he and four other rights activists were arrested in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra government said in the petition that the high court had misread the CrPC while allowing Navlakha to be freed from house arrest.
Granting relief to the 65-year-old activist, the high court had also quashed the trial court’s transit remand order which he had challenged before the matter was taken to the Supreme Court.
“The case in hand depicts misreading of section 167 (1) and (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure by the High Court while passing the impugned order,” said the petition filed by Shivaji Panditrao Pawar, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Pune.
Section 167 (1) states that in case an accused is to be produced before the jurisdictional magistrate, then it is incumbent upon the police to produce the case diary.
The plea said that in case the police applies for transit remand before a Magistrate having no jurisdiction, then it is not necessary for the police to produce the case diary.
“In the case in hand, the police arrested five persons from different places in the country. It was, therefore, not expected and not possible to produce the case diary before the concerned Courts,” the plea said.
The plea said that the high court has “erred” in stating that there was non-application of mind by the chief metropolitan magistrate in passing the order of transit remand, it said.
“It needs to be seen that, while passing the order of transit remand the magistrate had gone through the application filed by the police and he had heard the concerned police officer. It is not possible/pragmatic to mention minute details while passing the order of remand,” it said.
The plea also said that when the Supreme Court had extended the period of house arrest by four weeks it was not necessary to observe about end of house arrest.
It also claimed that the high court has erred in allowing the petition of Navlakha by setting aside the order of remand.
“It is pertinent to note that, neither was there a prayer to set aside the order of remand nor was there any amendment to that effect. The writ petition was filed seeking a writ of habeas corpus only,” it said.
It further said that the high court has erred in entertaining the plea and it was clearly against the law.
The plea also claimed that the high court has erred in doubting the procedure of arrest and the police had followed the procedure while arresting as well as while seeking transit remand.
The high court had said that Navlakha’s detention had exceeded 24 hours which was “untenable”.
The bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, while setting aside the August 28 order of the chief metropolitan magistrate granting Navlakha transit remand, had said there was non-compliance of basic provisions of the Constitution and the CrPC which were mandatory in nature.
The bench also said the trial court order was unsustainable in law.
However, the high court had made it clear that the order will not preclude the state of Maharashtra from proceeding further.
Navlakha was arrested from the national capital by the Maharashtra police on August 28. The other four activists were arrested from different parts of the country.
They were arrested in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave -- Elgaar Parishad -- held on December 31 last year that had allegedly triggered violence later at Koregaon-Bhima village in the state.
The five activists -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha -- were put under house arrest on August 29 following an apex court order on the plea by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action. PTI