A new petition by activist Gautam Navlakha, who has not been placed under house arrest despite the Supreme Court’s order in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, will be heard by the court on Friday.

A bench led by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of senior attorney Nitya Ramakrishnan’s arguments on behalf of Navlakha on Thursday, noting that the apex court’s November 10 directive to transfer him from Navi Mumbai’s Taloja prison to house arrest due to his failing health has not yet been implemented.

Also read: Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case: Supreme Court to hear Gautam Navlakha plea on Friday

Who is Gautam Navlakha?

Gautam Navlakha is an Indian journalist and a human rights advocate. 

In addition to serving as the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir’s convener, the 70-year-old served as the People’s Union for Democratic Rights’ (PUDR) secretary. In more recent times, he has concentrated on working in the parts of Chhattisgarh that are under the Maoists’ control. He has also worked in Kashmir.

In a statement, he stated that “a referendum is a peaceful and democratic manner of addressing the issues where it is difficult to find a solution” and that Prashant Bhushan’s position that a vote should be held on the question of demilitarisation in Kashmir.

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Sanhati.com and Economic and Political Weekly have also published his writings.

He declared that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is excessively broad and ambiguous, enabling the government to pursue activists and dissidents, “Such Acts turn the normal jurisprudence upside down. No longer is it the axiom that ‘a person is innocent unless proven guilty’. In fact, under such Acts, ‘an accused is guilty unless proven innocent.'”

A suspect in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon riots is Navalakha. On April 8, 2020, the Supreme Court denied Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde’s request for anticipatory release in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case involving alleged Maoist ties to Elgar Parishad.

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On April 14, they were told to turn themselves up to the National Investigation Agency. In the chargesheet, the National Investigation Agency said that Navlakha had multiple meetings with Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai to “unite the intellectuals against government forces to defeat them both physically and otherwise.”