The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Bombay High Court to decide within eight weeks a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha seeking quashing of the FIR against him in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case.
The direction came from a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna while hearing the Maharashtra government’s appeals challenging the Delhi High Court order quashing Navlakha’s transit remand order.
The state has also moved the Supreme Court seeking expeditious disposal of the petition filed by the accused in the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.
Appearing for the state, Advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar said the October 1, 2018 order of the Delhi High Court came on a habeas corpus petition. He wondered how a habeas corpus petition could lie when the person concerned was in lawful custody and added that the transit remand order could not have been set aside by the High Court when there was no prayer to that effect in the petition. “The High Court went ahead and set aside the transit remand order of the magistrate without even asking the petitioner (Navlakha) to amend the prayers in the writ petition,” he said and added that the High Court had erred in setting aside the remand order.
The bench then asked the counsel about the status of Navlakha’s petition in the Bombay High Court. The counsel replied that it was pending and pointed out that the state had moved a plea for expediting its disposal.
The bench, while asking the High Court to expedite hearing Navlakha’s plea, also said the state’s petitions will remain pending in the meanwhile.
The Maharashtra Police had arrested Navlakha and four others on August 28, 2018 in connection with the probe into the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, that allegedly triggered violence in Bhima Koregaon village, near Pune, the next day. On October 1 last year, the Delhi High Court had allowed Navlakha to be freed from house arrest and quashed the transit remand allowed by a magistrate court.