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IIOJK in focus

Indian top court ‘considers’ allowing house arrest of ailing Gautam Navlakha

New Delhi, November 10 (KMS): The Indian Supreme Court has said it is considering allowing house arrest request of ailing writer and rights activist Gautam Navlakha, languishing in jail in connection with, what human rights activists believe, a fake case.

The top Indian court asked Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to seek instructions and inform it about restrictions that can be placed on Navlakha, detained in so-called Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, while keeping him under house arrest.

A bench of justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said it will pass the order today (Thursday) after hearing the ASG.

“He is a 70-year-old man. We don’t know how long he will live. Certainly, he is going towards the inevitable. It’s not that we are going to release him on bail. He is not going to enjoy the default bail which comrade Sudha (Bharadwaj) got… We are conscious that we have to tread carefully. We agree that house arrest as an alternative has to be used carefully…

“We are concerned about what restriction would you like to place. Place whatever restrictions. It’s not that he is going to destroy the country… At least let him remain in house arrest for a few days. Let’s try to work it out,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Navlakha, critical of Hindutva policies of Modi regime across India and particularly in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, said the medical reports show that there’s no possibility of him being treated in jail.

“There’s no way in the world you can get this kind of treatment/monitoring done in jail. He’s had alarming weight loss. This kind of treatment is not possible in jail,” Sibal said.

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