The Supreme Court on September 28 granted writer and activist Gautam Navlakha (73) permission to get treatment at a private hospital. Navlakha has been in jail since August 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon/Elgaar Parishad case.
The direction came following an appeal by Navlakha to be shifted out of jail on health grounds and kept under house arrest.
After the Bombay High Court rejected his appeal for house arrest in April, Navlakha took his case to the Supreme Court where he asked to be shifted to his sister’s home and be placed under house arrest in order to undergo treatment for various ailments.
A Bench comprising Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said in their order: “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.” Navlakha will remain in police custody.
The Bench also directed the Superintendent of Taloja jail, where Navlakha is held, to take him to Jaslok Hospital in south Mumbai for tests and investigations. The Bench added that only Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain and sister Mridula Kothari would be allowed to visit him.
Navlakha is among 17 accused in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgaar Parishad case and the oldest. An undertrial, he stands accused of colluding with naxalites in a conspiracy to destablise the country’s national security. He was an editorial consultant with Economic and Political Weekly and member of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights. Based in New Delhi, he wrote mostly on Kashmir politics and about atrocities in the Valley.