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Bombay HC sets deadline for Sudha Bharadwaj bail plea

Activist Sudha Bharadwaj. File   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra government not to seek any more adjournments and posted the bail plea filed by Sudha Bharadwaj, accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, for July 3.

A division bench of justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar was hearing a petition filed by Ms Bharadwaj, lodged at Byculla Jail, seeking default bail. Her plea states that the Pune sessions court judge was not authorised to take cognisance of the supplementary chargesheet filed in 2019 against her and other accused.

The petition mentions, “The court was not the designated special court under the NIA Act which has exclusive jurisdiction to try scheduled offences like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and therefore, not the competent court.”

Advocate Yug Chaudhry appearing for Ms Bharadwaj said, “The judge before whom the chargesheet was filed, was not authorised to give sanction to the chargesheet and to extend time for filing chargesheet. There is a clear prima facie case of illegal detention which has crossed over a year.”

He said all offences under UAPA are scheduled offences to be tried by special judges only and the NIA must respond as to the claim that the judge did not have sanction. He added he has replies from the Bombay HC through Right to Information that say the judge was not a designated judge and therefore, has passed orders outside of his jurisdiction.

NIA counsel Sandesh Patil said he has to go through the records of 2018 and sought two weeks’ time to file a reply. The court directed the NIA and the State to file its reply on or before July 2 and slotted the matter to be heard on July 3.

Ms Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018, from her house at Faridabad and is charged with several sections of the Indian Penal Code and UAPA.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 11:18:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-sets-deadline-for-sudha-bharadwaj-bail-plea/article34905155.ece

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