Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gautam Navlakha has cancer, SC says move to hospital

The Supreme Court today directed the Taloja jail superintendent to immediately shift human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, jailed in connection with the Elgar Parishad case under draconian UAPA, to Mumbai’s Jaslok hospital for treatment, after the activist’s lawyer said he has colon cancer.

A bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy who underlined that receiving medical treatment is a fundamental right allowed Gautam Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain and sister to meet him in the hospital.

“Having heard the counsel for parties, we are of the view that receiving medical treatment would be a fundamental right. We direct that the petitioner be taken immediately for a thorough medical check-up. Accordingly, we direct Superintendent Taloja jail to take the petitioner to Jaslok hospital so that he is able to undergo the requisite medical check-up and receive treatment. We make it clear that the petitioner will remain in police custody,” the bench said.

It also directed the hospital authorities to submit a report to the apex court about the check-up, PTI reported.

Navlakha has appealed to the top court against the April 26 order of the Bombay High Court dismissing his plea for house arrest over apprehensions of a lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities in Taloja jail.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Gautam Navlakha, submitted the activist is suffering from serious ailments and needs urgent medical attention.

“I don’t know if skin allergy and dental issues are serious enough. He need not be placed under house arrest for skin allergy and dental check-up,” said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for anti-terror probe agency NIA.

Sibal went on to say that Gautam Navlakha is over 70 and has colon cancer. “Is he a threat to the security of the nation?” he demanded.

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