Supreme Court orders to shift Gautam Navlakha to hospitaltext_fields
New Delhi: Gautam Navlakha, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, submitted before the Supreme Court that he was suffering from ailments, and the court ordered on Thursday to shift him to hospital, IANS reported.
The apex court made the direction to the Superintendent of Taloja jail, where the Bhima-Koregaon case accused Navlakha is lodged, to shift him to Mumbai's Jaslok hospital for treatment.
A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy told the Union government, "He is 70 years and an undertrial in an overcrowded prison... The nature of crime is serious, but it is alleged not proved.... You want the man to die in jail?"
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta strongly argued against Navalakha's plea to shift him to house arrest. Mehta said that Navlakha has a skin allergy, dental problems, and colonoscopy, which are not serious for shifting him to house arrest.
He further said that Navalakha did not press the prayer for a colonoscopy before the trial court and added that he could visit a dental surgeon of his choice daily. If the accused has health problems, then he should be in a hospital and not at his sister's house, Mehta said.
When Sibal contented that how could be his client, aged over 70, a threat, Mehta replied that there are chances of the destruction of evidence if the accused is sent to house arrest. The SG said also said that he is facing charges under the UAPA for supporting Maoist activities. "This is an abuse of the process of law. I appeal to your lordships' conscience," he said.
After hearing the arguments, the SC observed that the petitioner is an undertrial and he has the right to have medical care. The accused must be taken through a medical check-up immediately, the court said.
Later, the court scheduled a further hearing on the matter in October.
It was on Tuesday, the top court issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra government on Navlakha's plea seeking house arrest rather than judicial custody.
It was informed that there are allegations about the commission of offences covered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Navlakha, but none of those is made out against him.
Navlakha's counsel urged that he can be put under house arrest either in Mumbai or in Delhi. Navlakha moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court judgment passed in April, dismissing his plea to be transferred from Taloja Prison and placed under house arrest instead. In August 2018, he was arrested and initially placed under house arrest. In April 2020, after an apex court order, he was moved to Taloja Central Prison.