SC issues notice to Gautam Navlakha on plea against release, HC initiates contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy for calling release biased

Swaminathan Gurumurthy in the past had also made similar allegations about the Justice S Muralidhar and had questioned the credibility of the High Court judge in connection with granting bail to Karti Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case.

The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to Gautam Navlakha, one of the accused in Koregaon Bhima violence case. The notice is in connection with the Maharastra government’s plea against the Delhi government order allowing Navlakha to be released from house arrest.

The Delhi High Court had released the alleged Urban Naxal Gautam Navlakha from house arrest after five weeks of the arrest on October 1. The High court had quashed the order of his transit remand issued by a chief metropolitan magistrate. A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel had cancelled the transit as it was not compliant with the basic requirements of law and the Constitution.

Following this, a plea challenging the order of the Delhi High Court was filed in the Supreme Court on last Wednesday by the Maharashtra government. The Maharastra government had argued that the accused has been arrested for involving in grave offences under UAPA. The Maharastra police are still pursuing the investigation and hence production of translated copies of case diary to the court was not feasible, said the counsel representing the state government.

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The Pune Police had arrested Gautam Navlakha and four other activists on August 28 in relation with their alleged involvement in the Elgaar Parishad and the Bhima Koregaon violence. Historian Romila Thapar had filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the arrest of five ‘Urban Naxals’ but the top court headed by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on September 28 had refused to interfere with arrests of these five ‘Urban Naxals’.

Interestingly, on a day when Supreme Court issued a notice to Gautam Navlakha over his release from the house arrest, the Delhi High Court has initiated a contempt case against the RBI part-time director and Chartered Accountant S Gurumurthy for his articles and tweets against the Delhi HC Judge S Muralidhar, after the latter had ordered the release of Navlakha from the house arrest.

The Delhi High Court has taken the suo-moto cognisance and initiated criminal proceedings against S Gurumurthy after he had claimed bias in Justice S Muralidhar’s judgement in connection with the activist’s release. The Delhi HC initiated the proceeding after it received a letter from Advocate Rajshekhar Rao stating that it was a deliberate attempt to attack a sitting judge of the High Court and to scandalise the judiciary.

Justice S Muralidhar, the Delhi High Court judge who passed the judgement to free the accused Gautam Navlakha is claimed to be the husband of activist Usha Ramanathan, who has associated with Navlakha in the past with various movements. Hence, there were some speculations regarding the relation between the Delhi High Court judge and the release of the accused ‘Urban Naxal’.

Swaminathan Gurumurthy in the past had also made similar allegations about the Justice S Muralidhar and had questioned the credibility of the High Court judge in connection with granting bail to Karti Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case.

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