The Delhi High Court Friday sought response of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea filed by activist Gautam Navlakha seeking interim bail in Elgaar Parishad case on the ground that due to his “advanced age”, he is at a “higher risk” of being infected by Covid-19 in jail.
Navlakha (67) contended that he has a “pre-existing underlying” medical condition and also he would not be able to “practice or ensure sufficient social distancing and take necessary precautions”.
The interim bail plea came up for hearing before Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, who directed the NIA to file their reply by Tuesday next week and listed the matter for further hearing on May 27.
The counsel for the agency submitted that the interim bail should not be granted at this stage and the NIA has to file their reply to the applicant’s (Navlakha) bail request.
Explained | A quick recap of Elgaar Parishad case
Navlakha surrendered before the NIA in Delhi on April 14 and was sent in judicial custody at Tihar jail on April 25. He surrendered a week after the Supreme Court refused to grant him more time.
He has been made an accused by the Maharashtra unit of the NIA and is currently imprisoned in Delhi only on account of the lockdown, which prevented movement across state borders.
“Pending trial in a case registered by the NIA…,” the plea said, adding that he is a “senior citizen suffering from Colonic Polyposis, Chronic Gastritis and lactose intolerance, which can be controlled only through timely and regular medication and a very controlled diet.”
“Furthermore, while he was in NIA’s custody during interrogation, he was diagnosed by high blood pressure by the Doctor at Safdarjung Hospital, which condition all the more increases the risk of his morbidity,” it stated.
While flagging that there have been Covid-19 positives cases in jails of Delhi, Navlakha sought bail on the ground that even the Maharashtra High Power Committee ordered that the prisoners of age 60 years and above, to apply for interim bail.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines