Delhi High Court: NIA Shows Hastiness in the Elgar Parishad Case

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The Delhi High Court questioned the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for taking Civil Rights Activist Gautam Navlakha to Mumbai. This happened while his interim bail plea was pending before the Delhi High Court.

Justice Anup J. Bhambhani heard the matter. He said that the NIA moved applications in the Mumbai and Delhi High Courts over the weekend. He stated that they even obtained orders via e-mail. That is to say, by risking the proceedings of an interim bail plea in the Delhi High Court.

Facts of the Case

The Koregaon-Bhima violence case, 2018 involved a 67-year-old Mr Navlakha. He surrendered before the NIA on 14.04.2020. On 23.04.2020, he was sent to Tihar Jail, Delhi under judicial custody. 

Mr Navlakha, then, filed an interim bail plea on Medical grounds. He said that because of COVID-19, it is dangerous for him to stay in jail.

In the last hearing, the Delhi High Court had given time to the NIA to submit its report in response to the bail plea. The NIA filed an Affidavit to oppose the plea. However, the same was done in a very hasty manner.

The Delhi High Court demanded an explanation from the NIA for moving him from Delhi to Mumbai in such haste. They said that it was important to highlight urgency than making proceedings worthless.

Arguments by the Respondent

The Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty argued on behalf of the NIA. He stated that the actions taken by the NIA were necessary as per the urgent situation.

The NIA Investigating Officer explained that he presented an application before the Principal District Judge of NIA on 23.05.2020 for issuance of Production Warrant. On 24.05.2020, the NIA Investigating Officer presented the application before the Special Judge of NIA in Mumbai. The Mumbai High Court issued a ‘Production Warrant’ for the applicant on 26.05.2020 at 11 A.M.

Arguments by the Petitioner

Mr Navlakha’s Counsel was Nitya Ramakrishnan. She claimed that the actions of NIA showed that they want to make the proceedings of the Court worthless. They wanted to take away the Applicant from the Jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court. She expressed discontent over her client’s transfer to Mumbai, being a COVID-19 hotspot.

Mr Navlakha is currently in Taloja Jail in Mumbai.

Court’s Observation 

On 27.05.2020, the Delhi High Court adjourned the case proceedings. The Court then heard the explanation of the NIA officer through video conferencing.

The Delhi High Court ordered that all the documents must be submitted by the next date of hearing on 03.06.2020. These documents include the Application, Production Warrants and other related documents.


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