The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed human rights activist Gautam Navlakha’s plea that he be placed under house arrest instead of judicial custody in the Taloja Central Prison, Bar and Bench reported.
Navlakha, 70, is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, which pertains to caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. He was among 16 people arrested for allegedly plotting the violence.
In September, Navlakha had moved the Bombay High Court seeking to be placed under house arrest citing ill health. “Taloja is sorely lacking in infrastructure and manpower and incapable of caring for ailing and elderly inmates such as the petitioner,” he had said in his plea.
The court on Tuesday said that Navlakha could approach the National Investigation Agency about grievances that he may face in prison, Live Law reported. “The said officer is directed to ensure the grievance is redressed within parameters of the law,” the bench said.
The judge also directed the Taloja superintendent to look after Navlakha’s medical needs.
While seeking house arrest, Navlakha had cited a Supreme Court order from May, which said that House arrest under Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code could be considered on account of health conditions.
However, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the National Investigation Agency, has argued that granting Navlakha house arrest would set a “bad instance”, Live Law reported.
“The same cannot be justified as it sets an untimely, and unapt precedent,” Singh submitted.
Navlakha’s petition came after his co-accused tribal rights activist Stan Swamy died during his time in custody in July. Swamy, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and also contracted the coronavirus infection while in prison, was repeatedly denied bail despite his deteriorating health condition. He was 84.