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Breaking: SC dismisses Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

The top court has upheld the Bombay HC judgment, holding that Default bail period commences only from remand date

Sabrangindia 12 May 2021

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

The Supreme Court has dismissed the bail plea filed by activist-journalist Gautam Navlakha against a Bombay High Court order in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

The Bench of Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph reportedly noted that there was “no statutory bail” made in this case. The Bench had reserved the matter for orders on March 26.

The High Court, which had rejected his plea on February 8, saw no reason to interfere with a special court’s order which earlier rejected his bail plea. A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had passed an order to this effect on July 12, 2020. Navlakha subsequently moved the apex court on February 19.

Navlakha has been in custody since April 14, 2020 after the Supreme Court directed him to surrender before the NIA after rejecting his bail application. His plea seeking an extension to surrender in view of the Coronavirus pandemic was also rejected. He has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the alleged conspiracy behind the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 2018.

The Bombay High Court order denied him default bail since it held that the time spent under house arrest cannot be included while calculating the 90 days period prescribed for grant of default bail under section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The main issue in this matter was whether the 34 days period of Navlakha’s house arrest between August 29 to October 1, 2018, can be included in his detention period for the purpose of granting default bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC to fulfil the entire 90-day remand period.

The top court has now clarified this stand by upholding the Bombay High Court judgment which ruled that the Default bail period commences only from the remand date, excluding the home arrest period.

With this dismissal, he is one of the many political prisoners that continue to be incarcerated amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic, putting excessive burden on prisons. Due to the current situation, courts all across India are only taking up urgent matters and inevitably, the trial may not commence anytime soon.  

Despite the Supreme Court’s order in Kerala Union of Working Journalists vs Union of India (W.P Crl. No. 307 of 2020), holding that “the most precious fundamental ‘right to life’ unconditionally embraces even an undertrial”, thousands of them remain lodged in overcrowded cells with very few amenities, and the threat of Covid looming large.

The judgment may be read here:

Related:

Default bail period to commence only from remand date: Bombay HC in Gautam Navlakha Bail case
SC reserves order in Gautam Navlakha’s plea for default bail
Shift Siddique Kappan to Delhi for medical treatment: SC to UP Gov’t

Breaking: SC dismisses Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

The top court has upheld the Bombay HC judgment, holding that Default bail period commences only from remand date

Image Courtesy:livelaw.in

The Supreme Court has dismissed the bail plea filed by activist-journalist Gautam Navlakha against a Bombay High Court order in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

The Bench of Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph reportedly noted that there was “no statutory bail” made in this case. The Bench had reserved the matter for orders on March 26.

The High Court, which had rejected his plea on February 8, saw no reason to interfere with a special court’s order which earlier rejected his bail plea. A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had passed an order to this effect on July 12, 2020. Navlakha subsequently moved the apex court on February 19.

Navlakha has been in custody since April 14, 2020 after the Supreme Court directed him to surrender before the NIA after rejecting his bail application. His plea seeking an extension to surrender in view of the Coronavirus pandemic was also rejected. He has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the alleged conspiracy behind the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 2018.

The Bombay High Court order denied him default bail since it held that the time spent under house arrest cannot be included while calculating the 90 days period prescribed for grant of default bail under section 167(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The main issue in this matter was whether the 34 days period of Navlakha’s house arrest between August 29 to October 1, 2018, can be included in his detention period for the purpose of granting default bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC to fulfil the entire 90-day remand period.

The top court has now clarified this stand by upholding the Bombay High Court judgment which ruled that the Default bail period commences only from the remand date, excluding the home arrest period.

With this dismissal, he is one of the many political prisoners that continue to be incarcerated amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic, putting excessive burden on prisons. Due to the current situation, courts all across India are only taking up urgent matters and inevitably, the trial may not commence anytime soon.  

Despite the Supreme Court’s order in Kerala Union of Working Journalists vs Union of India (W.P Crl. No. 307 of 2020), holding that “the most precious fundamental ‘right to life’ unconditionally embraces even an undertrial”, thousands of them remain lodged in overcrowded cells with very few amenities, and the threat of Covid looming large.

The judgment may be read here:

Related:

Default bail period to commence only from remand date: Bombay HC in Gautam Navlakha Bail case
SC reserves order in Gautam Navlakha’s plea for default bail
Shift Siddique Kappan to Delhi for medical treatment: SC to UP Gov’t

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