Mumbai: Authorities at the Taloja jail have asked civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain to resend the new pair of spectacles she had sent for him, which they had refused to accept earlier, assuring her they would accept it this time.
Husain had, on Monday, released a statement through Navlakha’s lawyers about the jail refusing to accept the glasses she had sent from Delhi. Navlakha, whom Husain has said, is 'near-blind' without his glasses, has been without a pair since November 27, when they were stolen when he had taken them off before sleeping. Husain had called the jail administration “inhuman” and “unjust” for not accepting an article which was a necessity The jail had cited security concerns and said that it could only accept items if sent personally through a friend or relative.
On Tuesday, Husain said she had received a phone call in the morning from the jail superintendent of Taloja Jail, who also let her speak with Navlakha. She said the superintendent accepted they had refused to receive the pair of glasses she had sent and asked her to resend it, addressed to him this time. She claimed he had assured her the jail would accept it. Husain said he also told her the jail could have a pair of spectacles made for Navlakha if given the prescription.
Taloja Jail superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar confirmed that the jail had assured it would accept the article when re-sent, but said the call had been made by Navlakha himself.
Humanity first: HC
Meanwhile, the Bombay high court said all else is subsequent to humanity, which is of utmost importance, as it noted the plight of rights activist Gautam Navalakha, whose spectacles were stolen from Taloja prison.
A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik further said that it was high time the jail authorities were given training to deal with prisoners sensibly.
The judges said that they learnt about how Navalakha's specs were stolen inside the jail. "It was further shocking to note that the prison authorities refused to accept the new specs for Navlakha, sent by his family," Justice Shinde said.
"We must all consider the fact that humanity is of utmost importance. Rest everything else will follow," Justice Shinde remarked.
The judges further said that today it was Navlakha and tomorrow it could be some other incident.
"It is high time a workshop was conducted, even for jail authorities. We fail to understand how these small items can be denied. These are all humane considerations," the judge observed.
The observations were made in response to the contentions of Navalakha's family members, who claimed that his specs were stolen on November 27.
The family claimed that the activist is "almost blind" without the spectacles and despite this, the jail authorities had refused to accept the new pair of specs sent by the family.
The judges were dealing with the plea filed by two other activists, Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe, who have challenged their arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, in which more than a dozen activists have been arrested for allegedly having links with Maoists and plotting to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The duo, through senior counsel Mihir Desai, pointed out that they were arrested only because they refused to record their statements before the magistrate.
The judges have heard their contention and has ordered the NIA to respond to the applications.
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