Supreme Court junks NIA plea against bail to Bhima-Koregaon activist Sudha Bharadwaj | Latest News India


The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial located on the city’s outskirts.

Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against an earlier Bombay high court order granting default bail to Bhima-Koregaon activist Sudha Bharadwaj. Junking the NIA’s plea, the top court said that only a special court, as opposed to a magisterial court, could have extended the time investigation and detention as provided under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). 

According to Bar and Bench, the Supreme Court bench of justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi asked the NIA why it made this application for an extension before a magisterial court when there is a separate special court at Pune, manned by special judges who ought to be hearing the NIA case. This is, incidentally, the similar ground on which Bharadwaj, who was arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case in August 2018 under the provisions of the stringent UAPA, was granted default bail by the Bombay high court last week.

The high court had also directed that Bharadwaj, lodged in the Byculla women’s prison, be produced before the Mumbai special NIA court on December 8, and conditions of her bail and date of release be decided.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial located on the city’s outskirts. The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

Although Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail, the pleas of others, including poet-activist Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira, were rejected.

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