Supreme Court refuses to interfere with Bombay HC order granting Sudha Bharadwaj bail

Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested and has been in jail for over two years in the Bhima Koregaon case. File Image.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with a Bombay High Court order granting default bail to advocate Sudha Bharadwaj in the Bhima Koregaon case, paving the way for her release from jail after a span of two years.

A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi declined the arguments made by the NIA that the High Court on December 1 erred in concluding that the Pune Sessions Court, which took cognisance of its charge-sheet and extended the period of her detention under Section 43D(2) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), had no jurisdiction in the case. The Sessions Court was not notified as a Special Court under the NIA Act, the High Court had noted.

The default bail order of Ms. Bharadwaj comes into effect from December 8. She has to appear before the Special Court on Wednesday for a hearing on the conditions of her bail.

“We find no reason to interfere,” Justice Lalit said in the order.

Explained | When can an individual get statutory bail?

During the hearing, Justice Lalit said the moot question was whether the court that extended the detention was competent or not.

“Within 90 days, you have to complete the investigation, unless you can show reasons not to have completed,” Justice Lalit said.

The High Court had, in its order, upheld Ms. Bhardwaj’s indefeasible right to personal liberty.

It had said the guarantee of personal liberty under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution cannot be thwarted on technical grounds that her plea for default bail was premature. That would be a “too technical and formalistic view of the matter”.

The High Court had, however, denied bail to Rona Wilson, Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in the case. They are lodged in Taloja Central Jail.

Ms. Bharadwaj was taken into custody by the Pune police in August 2018. The charge-sheet was filed in February 2019.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 12:45:59 AM |

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