October 8, 2021 11:14:00 pm
The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the state prison authority and the NIA to file a reply to the plea by the wives of Elgaar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, who are lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, seeking an inquiry for allegedly restricting the two activists from writing letters to their spouses and lawyers.
A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Sarang V Kotwal was hearing a plea by Rama Anand Teltumbde and Susan Abraham Gonsalves alleging that letters from their respective spouses were being either withheld or posted belatedly by jail authorities and no response was received on letters written by them to their spouses.
Maintaining that such restrictions are against the rights of the prisoners, the plea said the act by the jail authority was “deliberate and malicious”.
Advocate Sandesh Patil for the NIA opposed the plea and said that there is no restraint on sending letters by the accused persons. He added that the accused persons are prison undertrials in connection with offences related to Naxalite activities.
Patil said it was found that “objectionable material” was being written in the letters, which were being compiled into articles and one of them was published in Caravan magazine. Patil said the plea was misconceived and sought its dismissal.
The bench asked the NIA and state prison authority to file an affidavit in reply to contest the pleas and posted further hearing after two weeks.
The court also asked authorities to file a reply to a writ petition filed by accused Mahesh Raut, along with other co-accused lodged in Taloja jail, seeking a stay on the special NIA court order, that had permitted his transfer to Mumbai Central Prison, also known as Arthur Road jail, stating that the ruling was passed without hearing him.
The plea claimed that the order was passed without following due procedure and the special judge had permitted the superintendent of Taloja jail to transfer undertrials to other prisons.
The earlier division bench, which was hearing the case on August 6, had observed that it was “paradoxical and confusing” that while the Elgaar Parishad case accused had time and again complained about facilities and overcrowding at Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, they were opposing a special NIA court order that has directed them to be transferred to other jails in Maharashtra.
The HC will hear the plea next on October 22.
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