New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside the transit remand of Gautam Navlakha, one of the five rights activists arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case. The Delhi HC decision comes days after the Supreme Court extended the house arrest of Navlakha and four other activists for four weeks. Navlakha was arrested by Pune Police from Delhi last month.

While granting him relief, the high court noted that the Supreme Court last week had given him the liberty to approach the appropriate forum within four weeks to seek relief, which he has availed. The high court also quashed the trial court’s transit remand order which he had challenged before the matter was taken to the apex court. The court said Navlakha’s detention has exceeded 24 hours which was “untenable”.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel set aside the August 28 order of chief metropolitan magistrate granting transit remand of Navlakha saying there was non-compliance of basic provisions of the Constitution and the CrPC which were mandatory in nature. The bench said the trial court order was unsustainable in law.

“In view of Section 56 read with Section 57 of the CrPC and absence of remand order of the CMM, the detention of the petitioner has clearly exceeded 24 hours which is untenable in law. Consequently the house arrest of the petitioner comes to an end now,” the court said. It made it clear that this order will not preclude the state of Maharashtra from proceeding further.

Earlier, last week, the Supreme Court had refused to interfere with the probe by the state police against five Left-wing activists–Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha in connection with violence in Koregaon- Bhima in December last year. The five were under arrest at their respective homes since August 29.

The court had mentioned that the arrests were not because of dissent of activists but there was prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoist) organisation. The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in a 2:1 verdict, refused the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists.

(With inputs from agencies)