SC issues notice in NIA plea challenging Delhi HC order questioning Gautam Navlakha’s hasty transfer to Mumbai

NIA moved SC against Delhi HC’s order which opined that NIA acted in “unseemly haste” in moving Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai while his plea for interim bail in Bhima Koregaon case was still pending

Civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
Civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha (Photo Courtesy: Twitter)


The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice in a plea filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging a Delhi High Court order questioning the hasty overnight transfer of Gautam Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai, legal news website has reported.

The Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Indira Banerjee issued notice in the plea filed by the NIA today and fixed the matter to be heard on June 15.

The NIA had moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court which had opined that the NIA acted in "unseemly haste" in moving Gautam Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai while his plea for interim bail in the Bhima Koregaon case was still pending before it.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S A Nazeer and Indira Banerjee issued notice to Navlakha, who has been recently taken to Mumbai from Delhi's Tihar Jail. The top court posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the NIA, submitted that this order was "patently without jurisdiction."

The High Court's observation came in an order passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Anup J Bhambhani, who heard Navlakha's plea for interim bail on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 22, the High Court had issued notice to the NIA and granted it time to file its status report. However, before the matter could be taken up again, Navlakha was taken to Mumbai pursuant to a production warrant from a Mumbai court.

Based upon the production warrants, an application was moved on May 25 seeking an order for Navlakha's transfer. That date, however, was a gazetted holiday on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Ultimately, the transfer application was allowed and Navlakha was put on a train on May 26 and taken away to Mumbai before the interim bail plea could be taken up by the Delhi High Court.

Observing that there was a purported haste with which the NIA had acted, the High Court directed the NIA to file a report with the details pursuant to Navlakha's transfer, complete with his medical records as well as proceedings before the Mumbai court.

Navlakha had surrendered before the NIA on April 14 after the Supreme Court on April 8 had extended the interim protection from arrest for Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde by a week and directed the two activists to surrender by this time.

Before surrendering, Navlakha had penned an open letter flagging his concerns about his vulnerability to COVID-19 and disappointment that the Apex Court had not factored in the same in its order.

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Published: 02 Jun 2020, 2:31 PM