November 16, 2019 2:19:00 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday granted activist Gautam Navlakha interim protection from arrest till December 2 when the court is expected to hear anticipatory bail pleas of Navlakha and activist and professor Anand Teltumbde, both charged under UAPA sections in the Elgaar Parishad case.
Navlakha moved the High Court on Wednesday after a special court in Pune turned down his anticipatory bail application and refused to grant further interim protection from arrest.
Justice Prakash Naik observed on Friday that the cases of Navlakha and Teltumbde arise from the same offence and their petitions are being contested on the common issue of maintainability and hence, it would be appropriate to hear them together.
“The applicant (Navlakha) needs to be protected due to apprehension of arrest. Until December 2, applicant should not be arrested,” Justice Naik said.
While the court had asked if the matters could be preponed, Teltumbde’s counsel Mihir Desai expressed difficulty in attending the hearing before December 2. The court, therefore, listed both anticipatory bail applications on December 2.
Special public prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai opposed the grant of protection from arrest to Navlakha and said judicial propriety demanded that he seek extension of the interim protection before the Supreme Court that granted him interim protection till November 12 while hearing his petition for quashing the FIR filed against him.
Navlakha’s counsel Yug Chaudhry, who cited Teltumbde’s case and sought interim protection on parity, said the argument of seeking interim protection before the Supreme Court “made no sense” because the proceedings before the Supreme Court had been disposed of and he had approached the High Court after the special court in Pune turned down his anticipatory bail plea.
Chaudhry told the court that Navlakha had been granted interim protection since August 28, 2018. “In all this time, they (police) have not even recorded my statement. What is the urgency now?” Chaudhry argued.
Navlakha was among several activists who have been charged by Pune police in the case. They have been accused of having links with the banned CPI-Maoist, which, police claim, organised the public meeting named Elgaar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017.
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