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SC directs activist Gautam Navlakha to pay Rs 8 lakh as expense for police protection

SC directs activist Gautam Navlakha to pay Rs 8 lakh as expense for police protection

The Supreme Court on Friday directed activist Gautam Navlakha, to pay Rs 8 lakh as an expense for making available police personnel for his security.

Last year, the Court arrest him from his house, 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 the petitioner under house arrest.

The direction by a bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna was passed after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju submitted that a total bill of Rs 66 lakh was pending.

The top court also directed Raju to file reply within two weeks on Navlaka’s plea seeking to be shifted from the public library in Mumbai, where he is under house arrest in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, to some other place in the city as the public library needed to be vacated.

On Navlakha's request to walk for 45 minutes, Raju said he would seek instructions. The ASG said even the police personnel are forced to walk with him.

The apex court remarked,"Instructions for walk. He is doing them a favour. They will become more trim. Most are out of shape otherwise." 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.

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On February 17, Navlakha had withdrawn from the apex court his application seeking to be shifted to Delhi from Mumbai under house arrest.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

On January 9, the Supreme Court had said its interim order placing Navlakha under house arrest will continue till the next date of hearing.

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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