New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Thursday the plea of the Maharashtra government challenging the Delhi High Court order which set aside the transit remand order against activist Gautam Navlakha. Navlakha is one of the five activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. The state had questioned the maintainability of the habeas corpus petition filed by Navlakha before the high court in the light of two Supreme Court decisions on the subject.

The Delhi High Court had freed Navlakha from house arrest this Monday, five weeks after he and four other rights activists were arrested. Granting relief to Navlakha, 65, the high court had also quashed the trial court’s transit remand order which he had challenged before the matter was taken to the Supreme Court. The high court said Navlakha’s detention had exceeded 24 hours which was “untenable”.
While setting aside the August 28 order of the trial court, the bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had said there was non-compliance of basic provisions of the Constitution and the CrPC which were mandatory in nature. The bench also said the trial court order was unsustainable in law.

However, the high court had made it clear that the order will not preclude the state of Maharashtra from proceeding further. Navlakha, and the four other activists were arrested from different parts of the country in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave, Elgaar Parishad, held on December 31 last year that had allegedly triggered violence later in Bhima Koregaon village in the state.
The five activists, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha,  were put under house arrest on August 29 following an apex court order on the plea by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action.