Another SC judge recuses from hearing Gautam Navalkha case making it 5 in a row
New Delhi, Oct 03: Another judge of the Supreme Court has recused himself from hearing the bail plea of activist Gautam Navalkha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Justice S Ravindra Bhat said that he would not hear the case. The matter is likely to be heard tomorrow when Navalkha's interim bail period ends. Incidentally, Justice Bhat is the fifth judge to recuse himself from the case.
Earlier it may be recalled that the entire Bench of the Supreme Court refused to hear the bail plea. All the judges on the Bench, Justice B R Gavai, N V Ramana and R Subhash Reddy recused themselves from the matter.
More recently Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recused himself from hearing the same case.
Navlakha had challenged the Bombay High Court order refusing to quash the FIR lodged against him in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case.
"List the matter before a bench in which I am not the party", the Chief Justice said.
The matter was listed before a bench of Chief Justice and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer.
The Maharashtra government had filed a caveat in the matter seeking to be heard before any orders are passed.
On September 13, the high court had refused to quash the FIR lodged against him in the 2017 Koregaon-Bhima violence and for having alleged Maoist links, noting that there was prima facie substance in the case.
The high court had said, "Considering the magnitude of the case, we feel a thorough investigation is required".
The FIR was lodged against Navlakha and others by the Pune Police in January 2018 after the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, that had allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district the next day.
The police had also alleged that Navlakha and other accused in the case had Maoist links and were working towards overthrowing the government.
The high court had, however, extended the protection from arrest to Navlakha for a period of three weeks to enable him to approach the Supreme Court in an appeal against the HC order.
Navlakha and the other accused were booked under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code.
Besides Navlakha, four others -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj, are accused in the case.
With PTI inputs