5 SC Judges Recuse From Navlakha Case

Days after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and three other judges recused themselves from hearing a petition filed by activist Gautam Navlakha in Bhima Koregaon case, another judge on Thursday dogged the case.

Justice S Ravindra Bhat recused himself from hearing Navlakha’s plea seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him in the case. Earlier this week, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and a bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai had recused themselves.

Navlakha had filed an appeal challenging Bombay High Court’s judgment which had refused to quash the FIR.

The matter had come up before a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Ravindra Bhat today.

Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Nitya Ramakrishna, appearing for Navlakha, told the court that interim protection from arrest granted to their client by Bombay High Court is slated to expire tomorrow.

Navlakha was booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including waging a war and sedition. He is accused of having links with banned Naxal groups.

By its recent judgment, the High Court had arrived at the prima facie conclusion that there is sufficient material for the investigation to continue against Navlakha.

The High Court had, however, said that the observations made in its order are only prima facie in nature and that they should not influence the trial court’s decision in the matter.

The High Court had also extended the interim protection from arrest given to Navlakha giving time to him to approach the Supreme Court.

The Maharashtra government has also filed a caveat petition in the matter seeking to be heard before any orders are passed by the apex court. (ANI)

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