She was denied permission to travel by air, or A/C coach for trial

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, key accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, on Monday appealed in the Bombay High Court against the lower court's order denying her permission to travel by air or by air-conditioned train compartment for the trial of a case in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

Filing the application on health grounds, Sadhvi said she feared for her life as she may become a soft target for radical elements during her journey in unreserved train compartment. “We have filed an application in the Bombay High Court today,” her lawyer Ganesh Sovani said.

The application states that the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court did not take into consideration her failing health while rejecting her application. Sadhvi said in 2011, the Madhya Pradesh police had arranged for her air travel and she did not have to pay for it.

The application stated that the MCOCA judge had “given undue weightage to provisions of Jail Manual rather that the threat perception which the petitioner is carrying, given the surcharged atmosphere in the country.”

Stating that not taking care of the under-trial prisoner was an infringement of the fundamental right under Article 21, she said the MCOCA judge “also failed to appreciate the willingness of the petitioner to bear the expenses of escort party of their AC rail travel/ air if it is required so in case of any procedural hitch, hence causing no burden on State's exchequer.”

“Considering the bad health conditions, safety and security view of under-trial, as contemplated under Article 21 of Constitution, it is fundamental right of the petitioner to be allowed to travel by the safest mode of journey, especially when she is willing to incur the expenses of not only herself but of the escort party, if the situation so demands,” the application stated. “The security scenario in the country is not at all good, and hence the petitioner does want to risk her life by becoming vulnerable to the public at large if she were to travel through unreserved second class bogey, i.e. sleeper coach, if she is to be taken by railway from Mumbai to Bhopal… If the petitioner is compelled to travel by second class AC, she might become a soft target at the hands of radical elements in the country,” it stated.

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