The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Pune Police to abstain from taking any coercive action against activist Gautam Navlakha and professor Anand Teltumbde—both arrested in relation to the Bhima-Koregaon case—till next week.
The order was passed by a Bench comprising Justice RV More and Justice Bharti Dangre, which decided to hear on October 26 the petitions filed by Mr Navlakha and Mr Teltumbde demanding quashing of the case against them.
During the hearing, the court was informed by Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai that Mr. Navlakha had protection from arrest till October 26, pursuant to the order passed by the Supreme Court last month.
The high court then posted the petitions for hearing on October 26, directing that “no coercive steps shall be taken till the next date of hearing”.
The Pune police had, in August this year, lodged a case against Mr Navlakha, Mr Teltumbde and four other activists—Sudha Bhardwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Arun Ferreira. While the five activists were arrested, Mr. Teltumbde’s house was searched.
Right after the arrests, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court on behalf of the five activists. The petition had demanded constitution of a Special investigation Team (SIT) to probe the arrests.
A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court with a 2:1 majority had, however, refused the plea, opining that the petition, at the instance of the next friend of the accused for an independent probe or a court-monitored investigation, cannot be countenanced, much less as a PIL as the petitioners cannot be heard to ask for the reliefs which otherwise cannot be granted to the accused themselves.
However, soon after, the Delhi High Court had taken strict view of a series of non-compliances of various mandatory legal requirements, and had set aside the August 28 order granting transit remand of Mr. Navlakha.
Thereafter, Mr. Navlakha and Mr. Teltumbde had approached the High Court earlier this month, seeking quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against them. They have claimed that there is no evidence against them and that they have been falsely implicated.