NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed unhappiness and questioned the Delhi High Court's decision to entertain the bail plea of civil rights activist
, when it had already dismissed his petition for similar relief and asked him to surrender within a specific date.
Navlakha was arrested in August 2018 by the Pune Police from his Delhi residence in connection with the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018.
The transit remand order was, however, set aside by the Delhi High Court.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer said that interim orders granted by the top court on June 2 will continue in the case.
The apex court had stayed the May 27 order of the High Court by which the NIA was pulled up for acting in haste in taking away Navlakha from Tihar Jail to Mumbai.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for
National Investigation Agency
(NIA) said that Delhi High Court had no territorial jurisdiction to call for records from the lower courts.
The bench said, “When we had dismissed his bail plea on similar grounds and asked him to surrender then what is the right of Delhi High Court to entertain his bail petition”.
Lekhi said that NIA had not acted in haste in moving Navlakha to Mumbai as a production warrant was issued by the trial court.
He said that in compliance to top court's order of April 8, Navlakha had surrendered on April 14 in Delhi but could not be moved from Mumbai due to lockdown.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing Navlakha said that he does not have the copy of NIA's petition and could file reply after getting the copy.
The bench then ordered that the copy of petition be served upon Navlakha and posted the matter for further hearing in the month of July.
It said all interim orders will continue till further orders.
On June 2, the top court had stayed the proceedings before the Delhi High Court till further orders and issued notice to Navlakha on NIA's appeal.
The NIA in its plea alleged that the high court in its order erroneously continues to entertain the interim bail application of an accused, who is charged by an authority outside its territorial jurisdiction and is in judicial custody vide a valid jurisdictional remand order passed by special judge (NIA) Mumbai (which is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court).
It sought setting aside of the May 27 order of the high court and claimed that the top court had already adjudicated the issue of medical health of Navlakha and declined him the relief by its order on April 8.
The probe agency has also questioned the maintainability of the Navlakha's bail plea before the high court and pointed out that the accused is being prosecuted for offences under IPC and UAPA and thus the bail application would lie before the special court under the NIA Act.
It pointed out that the Delhi High Court also lacked the territorial jurisdiction to pass directions as the FIR by NIA pertaining to the Bhima Koregaon case was registered on January 24 at Mumbai.
On May 27, the high court had pulled up the NIA for acting in “unseemly haste” in taking away Navlakha, from the national capital to Mumbai even when his interim bail plea was pending here.
It said there was an evident haste shown by the NIA in moving pleas across Mumbai and Delhi over weekends and Gazetted holidays (Eid) and obtaining orders by e-mail, and “whisking away” Navlakha to Mumbai, which has rendered these proceedings infructuous.
Navlakha, who had surrendered before the NIA on April 14 in pursuance to the apex court's direction and was lodged in Tihar jail, was taken to Mumbai by train on May 26.
On April 8, the top court had directed Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde to surrender to jail authorities within a week in the Bhima Koregaon violence case saying the time will not be extended now as the courts are functioning in Maharashtra.
The activists, who were directed by the apex court on March 16 to surrender within three weeks, had moved the plea seeking extension of time on the ground that going to jail during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is "virtually a death sentence".
The top court had said the accused should have honoured its decision of dismissal of the anticipatory bail and the direction to surrender themselves within three weeks.
It had also made clear that there shall not be any further extension of time for surrendering.
The apex court on March 16 had rejected anticipatory bail pleas of the activists, observing that it cannot be said no prima facie case is made out.
It had granted three weeks' time to them to surrender themselves to the jail.
Navlakha, Teltumbde and several other activists have been booked by the Pune Police for their alleged Maoist links and several other charges following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018.
All the accused have denied the allegations.
According to Pune Police, "inflammatory" speeches and "provocative" statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day. The police alleged that the conclave was backed by Maoists.
Teltumbde and Navlakha had approached the high court seeking pre-arrest bail in November last year after a sessions court in Pune had rejected their pleas.