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Activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and DU Prof Hany Babu Seek Access to Books in Jail

File photo of activist Sudha Bharadwaj.(File photo)

File photo of activist Sudha Bharadwaj.(File photo)

Advocate Chandni Chawla told the court that when lawyers tried to deliver books to their clients, it was not allowed, and the books sent by post were also not given to the applicants.

Three accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists links case have moved a court here seeking access to books and newspapers in prison. Activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha and Delhi University professor Hany Babu have filed separate pleas through their lawyer Chandni Chawla in the special NIA court.

Chawla told the court on Tuesday that when lawyers tried to deliver books to their clients, it was not allowed, and the books sent by post were also not given to the applicants. Prison authorities sought a court order for handing over books, she claimed.

Special judge DE Kothalikar noted that Rule 13 of the Maharashtra Prison Manual allows prison superintendents to decide such matters. Before passing an order, the court, however, asked advocate Chawla to file an affidavit stating that she had approached the prison authorities but they refused to accept books. The hearing was adjourned to January 12.

Babu and Navlakha are lodged in Taloja Jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, while Bharadwaj is in Byculla Women's Jail in the city. Earlier, co-accused Stan Swamy, 83, had moved the court to get a straw and sipper in prison, saying his hands shake while drinking water because of Parkinson's disease.

Jail authorities later agreed to provide him these items. The NIA court, meanwhile, on Tuesday allowed Bharadwaj's application seeking an untruncated copy of witnesses' statement. The statement should be provided to her without disclosing the identities or addresses of witnesses, the judge said.


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