SC to hear activist Navlakha’s plea on Monday for shifting out from Mumbai public library under house arrest

The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Monday a plea of activist Gautam Navlakha, who is under house arrest in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, that he be shifted from a public library in Mumbai to some other place.

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna had on April 28 directed the CBI to file its reply within two weeks on Navlaka’s petition seeking to be shifted from the public library to some other place in the city as the facility needs to be vacated.

Besides, the top court also directed Navlakha to deposit another Rs 8 lakh toward expenses for making available police personnel for his security.

While ordering his house arrest on November 10 last year, the apex court had initially directed Navlakha to deposit Rs 2.4 lakh as the expenses to be borne by the state for making available police personnel to effectively facilitate placing him under house arrest.

The direction on paying money was passed after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju submitted that a total bill of Rs 66 lakh was pending.

On November 10, 2022, the top court had allowed Navlakha, who was then lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja prison in connection with the case, to be placed under house arrest owing to his deteriorating health.

Noting that the activist has been in custody since April 14, 2020, and prima facie there is no reason to reject his medical report, it had said Navlakha does not have any criminal background except for this case and even the government of India had appointed him as an interlocutor to hold talks with Maoists.

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Putting a number of conditions, including a deposit of Rs 2.4 lakh as security expenses, the top court had said the order to place the 70-year-old activist under house arrest for a month in Mumbai should be implemented within 48 hours.

Since the November 10, 2022 order, the top court has extended Navlakha’s house arrest several times.

On February 17, Navlakha had withdrawn from the apex court his application seeking to be shifted to Delhi from Mumbai under house arrest. He has told the top court through his counsel that he will look for some other place to stay in Mumbai.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claim triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the city.

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