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Jailed activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, has been allowed house arrest by the Supreme Court on medical grounds. Announcing the order to put Gautam Navlakha under house arrest, the Supreme Court said that there was no reason to reject his medical report.

Imposing a number of conditions, a bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said the order to place the 70-year-old activist, Gautam Navlakha, under house arrest for a month in Mumbai should be implemented within 48 hours.

The Supreme Court bench said, "It is unlikely that the case will make any progress towards a culmination in the foreseeable future, with charges not being framed...We would think that he should be allowed to be placed for house arrest for a period of one month."

The Supreme Court has also directed Gautam Navlakha to deposit 2.4 lakh for the arrangements for his house arrest. 2.4 lakh is an estimated amount that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) says is the expense to make available the police personnel.

The bench also said that while under house arrest, Gautam Navlakha will not be allowed to use a computer and internet.

"Petitioner will not use a computer, internet or any other communication device while under house arrest. He will, however, be permitted to use a mobile phone without internet provided by police personnel on duty once a day for 10 minutes in the presence of the police," the Supreme Court bench said.

The Supreme Court also ordered that Gautam Navlakha wouldn’t be allowed to leave Mumbai and he will not attempt, in any manner, to influence witnesses during his house arrest. Television and newspapers will be allowed, but these cannot be internet-based, it said.

"We observe that the petitioner and companion are expected to scrupulously adhere to all conditions. Any deviation will be viewed seriously and may entail immediate cancellation of the order," the Supreme Court bench said.

(With agency inputs)

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