Supreme Court stays order on Navlakha
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Delhi high court order in which it had on May 27 criticized the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for “whisking away” activist Gautam Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai even as his interim bail was pending before it.
The high court had directed the investigating officer to produce the entire set of records filed before NIA courts in Mumbai and Delhi for obtaining a production warrant and for extension of Navlakha’s judicial remand and fixed the matter for hearing next on June 3.
NIA moved the apex court against the order. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer, and Indira Banerjee directed the stay and sought response of Navlakha on NIA’s plea by June 15 when the case will be heard next.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented NIA, said that the high court has no territorial jurisdiction to call for records. He added the petition pending before it related to interim bail which was not maintainable.
Mehta told the apex court that NIA did not act in haste while moving Navlakha to Mumbai. He said Navlakha surrendered in Delhi on April 14 but could not be moved to Mumbai due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Mehta added Navlakha was moved only after necessary permission was obtained from the NIA court in Mumbai.
Navlakha and other activists face charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for their alleged links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). They are accused of making inflammatory speeches at an event on December 31, 2017, that allegedly triggered violence in Bhima-Koregaon near Pune.
NIA argued since cases under UAPA are tried by special courts, even bail applications will have to be filed before them. It added even the jurisdictional court to approach for interim bail will be the Bombay and not the Delhi high court.
The high court on May 27 pulled up NIA for “whisking away” Navlakha from Delhi’s Tihar Jail on a production warrant issued by a special judge in Mumbai, where he is lodged at Taloja Jail.
“The NIA has acted in unseemly haste to instead remove the applicant out of the very jurisdiction of this court; and, if the applicant is right, without even informing the Special Judge (NIA), Mumbai or the Special Judge (NIA), Delhi of the pendency of the present proceedings.”
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