‘Gautam Navlakha has cancer’, SC orders shifting from jail to hospital

Mumbai, September 30 (KMS): The Indian Supreme Court today directed the Mumbai’s Taloja jail superintendent to immediately shift noted human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, facing detention under draconian law Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act (UAPA), to Jaslok hospital in the city for treatment, after the activist’s lawyer said he has colon cancer.

According to Kashmir Media Service, a bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy who underlined that receiving medical treatment is a fundamental right allowed Gautam Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain and sister to meet him in the hospital.

“Having heard the counsel for parties, we are of the view that receiving medical treatment would be a fundamental right. We direct that the petitioner be taken immediately for a thorough medical check-up. Accordingly, we direct Superintendent Taloja jail to take the petitioner to Jaslok hospital so that he is able to undergo the requisite medical check-up and receive treatment. We make it clear that the petitioner will remain in police custody,” the bench said.

It also directed the hospital authorities to submit a report to the apex court about the check-up, Indian media reported.

Navlakha has appealed to the top court against the April 26 order of the Bombay High Court dismissing his plea for house arrest over apprehensions of a lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities in Taloja jail. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Gautam Navlakha, submitted that the activist is suffering from serious ailments and needs urgent medical attention.

Sibal went on to say that Gautam Navlakha is over 70 and has colon cancer. “Is he a threat to the security of the nation?” he demanded.

Gautam Navlakha was arrested in connection with an event held on 31 December 2017. It was organised by a coalition of 260 non-profit organisations at Pune’s Shaniwar Wada Fort, and had approximately 35,000 people in attendance. The program consisted of a number of cultural performances, speeches and slogans. “Elgaar” means loud invitation or loud declaration.

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