Bombay HC rejects default bail plea filed by Gautam Navlakha
Mumbai, Feb 09: The Bombay High Court has rejected a plea filed by activist Gautam Navlakha seeking default bail. He is accused of alleged naxal links in the 2018 Elgar Parishad case.
Lodged in the Taloja jail, he had appealed against the order of the NIA court which had rejected his bail on the grounds that his house arrest constituted custody. The HC excluded his 34 days of house arrest in 2018 from the duration of custody within which the chargesheet had to be filed.
Navlakha said that the chargesheet against him was not filed within 90 days as prescribed by the law and hence he was entitled for default bail. The court however agreed with the counsel for the NIA who said that only when the detention is authorised by a magistrate after arrest can the custody period of 90 days be counted.
The court said that the question before it was whether the house arrest period constituted custody under the default bail position in the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Bench noted that during the house arrest, police had no access to the accused not the occasion to interrogate him. They relied on a Supreme Court ruling which said for detention under police custody, the police ought to have access to the accused.