The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside the trial court’s transit order on Gautav Navlakha and called his detention untenable leading to the journalist’s release from his house arrest.
Navlakha was one of the five activists arrested by the Pune Police in August this year. The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the detention was untenable in law. It also didn’t accede to the request of Maharashtra Police lawyer to continue extension of his house arrest for at least two more days.
The Delhi High Court’s bench comprising Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel also quashed the transit order issued by a lower court calling it unsustainable in law. Navlakha had approached the Supreme Court against the transit order. The top court had directed the journalist to approach a lower court seeking relief on the transit order.
Among those arrested by the Pune Police were Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj in Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonzalves in Maharashtra.
In August, the Pune Police, which reports to the BJP government of Maharashtra, had arrested five known Dalit rights activists for their alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January this year. Violence had erupted during the Elgaar Parishad event, organised to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon. The date is observed by Dalit groups in memory of what they consider was their victory over the upper caste Peshwas.
The Pune Police had obtained the transit remand from a lower court in Delhi to take the arrested activists to Pune, but the Supreme Court had stayed the order and agreed to hear the matter on 6 September.