The Supreme Court today said that it was considering allowing house arrest request of activist Gautam Navlakha incarcerated in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case.

The Court asked Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to seek instructions and inform it about restrictions that can be placed on Navlakha while keeping him under house arrest for few days.

A Bench of Justice K M Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said it will pass the order Thursday after hearing the ASG.

"He is a 70-year-old man. We don't know how long he will live. Certainly, he is going towards the inevitable. It's not that we are going to release him on bail. He is not going to enjoy the default bail which comrade Sudha (Bharadwaj) got... We are conscious that we have to tread carefully. We agree that house arrest as an alternative has to be used carefully...", the Bench said.

"We are concerned about what restriction would you like to place. Place whatever restrictions. It's not that he is going to destroy the country... At least let him remain in house arrest for a few days. Let's try to work it out," the Bench said.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Navlakha, said the medical reports show that there's no possibility of him being treated in jail.

"There's no way in the world you can get this kind of treatment/monitoring done in jail. He's had alarming weight loss. This kind of treatment is not possible in jail," Sibal said.

Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the NIA, submitted that there is nothing wrong with Navlakha. "We will provide mattress and cot everything. We will allow him to bring home food also," he said.

The Court on September 29 had directed the Taloja jail superintendent to immediately shift Navlakha to Mumbai's Jaslok hospital for treatment. It had said receiving medical treatment is a fundamental right of a prisoner.

Navlakha appealed to the Apex Court against the April 26 order of the Bombay High Court dismissing his plea for house arrest over apprehensions of lack of adequate medical and other basic facilities in Taloja jail near Mumbai where he is lodged.

The Bombay High Cout had held that his grievances and apprehensions about the lack of medical aid and basic facilities at the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai, where he is currently lodged, are "ill-founded".

Cause Title- Gautam Navlakha versus National Investigation Agency (NIA), SLP(Crl) No. 9216/2022

With PTI inputs