Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

In the Bhima Koregao violence in January 2018 and alleged secret Maoist conspiracy to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Maharashtra police on a regular default bail plea by New Delhi-based journalist-turned leftist human rights activist Gautam Navlakha (65) and fixed the next hearing on March 15.

He has come to the Apex Court challenging the Bombay High Court's verdict last month dismissing his bail plea and upholding the NIA special court's rejection of his bail application as valid. He is in prison since his surrender in April 2020.

A 3-judge Bench of Justices U U Lalit, Indira Banerjee, and K M Joseph said it can't take a decision ex-parte and issued notice to also hear the Maharashtra Police. It was hearing the plea by Navlakha's counsel that the Bombay High Court had refused his criminal appeal against an order of the special court that rejected his default bail last June.

Navlakha sought default bail on the grounds that the NIA had failed to file their chargesheet within the stipulated period of 90 days. The NIA, however, contended that Navlakha was under house arrest for 34 days, between August 29 to October 1, 2018, which was declared as illegal by Delhi High Court and so it could not be included in his custody period.

His lawyer said even if that period is excluded, Navlakha is in custody for over 10 months and he should be at least given a regular bail as he has the right of freedom from continuous confinement to the jail.

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