High Court reserves order on Sudha Bharadwaj’s plea seeking default bail

Bombay High Court   | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition filed by activist Sudha Bharadwaj seeking default bail on the grounds that the judge who took cognizance of the chargesheet in the Bhima Koregaon case was not entitled to do so.

A Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard advocate Yug Chaudhry, for Ms. Bharadwaj; advocate general of Maharashtra Ashutosh Kumbhakoni; and additional solicitor general Anil Singh representing the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case.

The plea pointed out that judge K.D. Wadane passed two significant orders, one on November 26, 2018, granting an extension of 180 days for filing the chargesheet as opposed to 90 days as per the Code of Criminal Procedure. The other one was passed on December 21, 2019. Judge Wadane received the chargesheet, took cognizance of it and issued the processes. Mr. Chaudhry showed the two orders having the signature of judge Wadane. In one, it was mentioned as ‘special judge’ and ‘special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) judge’ in the other.

Mr. Chaudhry had contended that as per Right to Information replies received from the High Court, it showed Justice Wadane is an additional judge and not a special judge. He went on to say that the UAPA neither had special courts nor did it have special judges.

Mr. Singh had argued that no prejudice was caused to the rights of the accused just by judge Wadane taking cognizance of the chargesheet. The Central agency took over the case from the Pune police on January 24, 2020, and, hence, there was nothing wrong in a sessions court and not a special NIA court taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the police.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 2:50:01 PM |

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