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Elgaar Parishad case: Gautam Navlakha gets arrest shield from SC till Oct 15

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also directed the Maharashtra government to produce the material collected against Navlakha during the probe during the next hearing on October 15.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 4, 2019 5:36:51 pm
Gautam Navlakha, Gautam Navlakha interim protection from arrest, Gautam Navlakha on bail, Gautam Navlakha supreme court, Koregaon Bhima case Navlakha’s petition had come up before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on September 30. (PTI/File)

The Supreme Court Friday extended the interim protection from arrest for rights activist Gautam Navlakha till October 15 in the Elgaar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon violence case in Pune.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also directed the Maharashtra government to produce the material collected against Navlakha during the probe at the next hearing on October 15.

The bench was hearing Navlakha’s petition challenging the Bombay High Court’s rejection of his earlier plea to quash the FIR against him in the case.

On Thursday, Justice Bhat became the fifth Supreme Court judge to recuse himself from hearing Navlakha’s petition.

Navlakha’s petition had come up before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on September 30. The CJI recused without ascribing any reason. It was listed the next day before the bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai. All three judges recused, following which it was listed for Thursday before the bench headed by Justice Mishra.

Navlakha was among several prominent activists charged by Pune police in the case, and accused of having links with the banned naxalite group, CPI-Maoist, which, the police claim, had organised the public meeting, named Elgaar Parishad, in Pune on December 31, 2017.

According to the police, speeches made at Elgaar Parishad had contributed to the violence witnessed on the next day when lakhs of people had gathered in Pune to observe the anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. One person was killed in that violence, while several others were injured.

In his petition before the Bombay High Court, Navlakha had stated that he had been a human rights activist for decades and his outspoken views on political issues are well within the constitutional guarantee of free speech. He had also claimed that he was called upon by the state to assist in securing the release of officials abducted by left-wing extremists in 2011 and had been an open critic of left-wing extremist violence.

Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai, while opposing the petition, relied upon the material recovered from the petitioner and other co-accused, and submitted that Navlakha is an active member of outlawed CPI-Maoist.

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