Updated: April 14, 2020 1:55:50 pm
In an open letter before his surrender on Tuesday, activist Gautam Navlakha assailed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) under which he was charged by Pune Police for their alleged Maoist links and other charges following the violence at Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018.
“Such Acts turn the normal jurisprudence upside down. No longer is it the axiom that ‘a person is innocent unless proven guilty’. In fact, under such Acts, ‘an accused is guilty unless proven innocent’,” he wrote.
He also criticised the manner in which evidence is gathered and submitted, saying the “draconian” provisions of UAPA are not accompanied by stricter procedures.
“Under this double whammy, jail becomes the norm, and bail an exception,” he added.
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On April 8, Navlakha and activist Anand Teltumbde were granted a week to surrender by the Supreme Court.
Navlakaha said he will be surrendering before the National Investigative Agency in New Delhi. He also said he didn’t comply with the Supreme Court’s earlier order as he couldn’t travel to Mumbai to surrender during the lockdown.
On March 16, the Supreme Court had rejected the duo’s anticipatory bail plea and had given them three weeks to surrender. The two had moved the apex court after a single-judge bench of Bombay High Court rejected their pleas for anticipatory bail.
However they did not surrender and once again approached the SC seeking more time to surrender in view of the COVID-19 situation.
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