The Supreme Court on Monday set aside a Delhi High Court order asking the National Investigation Agency to produce records on transfer of activist Gautam Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai, PTI reported. Navlakha has been under arrest since April 14 as an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

On June 2, the top court had issued a notice to Navlakha, asking him to respond to the National Investigation Agency’s Special Leave Petition challenging the Delhi High Court’s order. The bench also took note of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s submission that the High Court’s order to produce records of a trial court were outside of its jurisdiction.

Navlakha’s counsel, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, on Monday opposed Mehta’s submission, Live Law reported. He argued that the Special Leave Petition was not maintainable against the order of the High Court, which merely asked for records of proceedings.

However, the Supreme Court said that the Delhi High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain Navlakha’s bail plea in the case. The court also expunged from the record the adverse remarks the Delhi High Court had made about the NIA.

On May 27, the Delhi High Court had criticised the NIA for its “unseemly haste” in moving Navlakha from Tihar jail in the Capital to Taloja jail in Mumbai when his bail application was pending. Navlakha was taken to Mumbai on May 26.

On May 22, the High Court had sought a response from the NIA on a plea filed by 67-year-old Navlakha, who said that his age made him vulnerable to the coronavirus or other infections in a crowded prison. His counsel had said that the agency failed to mention Navlakha’s pending bail plea before he was taken to Mumbai.

The case

Violence broke out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. This came a day after an event in Pune, called the Elgar Parishad, was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 in which the Dalit soldiers fighting for the British Army defeated the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire. One person died in the violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits on January 2.

Navlakha and another activist, Anand Teltumbde, have been charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code, following the violence at Bhima Koregaon village. The case made by the Pune Police accused Navlakha and Teltumbde of Maoist links, and was later taken over by the NIA.