Bhima Koregaon case | Sudha Bharadwaj released from Byculla jail

After repeatedly denying Sudha Bharadwaj default bail, medical bail and bail on merits, the Bombay High Court granted her bail on December 1.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Human rights lawyer and trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj was released on Thursday from Byculla jail after spending over three years there in connection with the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case of 2018.

The other co-accused Shoma Sen and Jyoti Jagtap are still in jail.

Ms. Bharadwaj, 61, was arrested on August 28, 2018 from her residence at Faridabad where she lives with her daughter Maaysha, 24.

Also read | Bhima Koregaon accused languishing in jail for 3 years

After repeatedly denying Ms. Bharadwaj default bail, medical bail and bail on merits, the Bombay High Court granted her bail on December 1.

The court held, “On the touchstone of the guarantee of personal liberty under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution, in our view, to deprive Ms. Bharadwaj of the indefeasible right of bail would be taking a too technical and formalistic view of the matter. In our view, all the requisite conditions to release Ms. Bharadwaj on default bail stood fully satisfied”.

Soon after this order, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the case filed an appeal challenging the order of granting her bail. One of the grounds was that she has been charged with the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the plea and paved way for Ms. Bharadwaj's release.

On December 8, the special NIA court laid the conditions for her bail and directed her to furnish a cash bond of ₹50,000 with one or two sureties.

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In jail, she suffered from pre-existing medical conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension and a history of pulmonary tuberculosis. She has also had an extremely painful swelling in her joints and a frozen shoulder that restricted her movement.

The NIA had opposed her bail, saying she was involved in anti-national and terrorist activities. The central agency had contended, “The available evidence on record clearly established Sudha Bharadwaj along with other accused was involved in selecting and encouraging cadres for recruitment in the banned Maoist organisation to go underground in ‘struggle area’ ”.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 7:19:09 PM |

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