Sudha bail: Supreme Court to hear NIA plea on Tuesday
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up on Tuesday the National Investigation Agency’s appeal against the default bail granted to human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj by Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Monday agreed to list the matter for urgent hearing after solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the NIA, made the plea on the ground that Bharadwaj’s default bail would come into force from Wednesday if not challenged by the investigating agency.
The bench, also comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli, passed the following order: “Upon hearing mentioned by Mr Tushar Mehta, learned solicitor-general appearing on behalf of the petitioner, we direct the registry to list the matter on 07/12/2-21 before an appropriate bench.”
On December 1, a Bombay High Court bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar 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 high court, however, rejected the bail plea of eight others, including revolutionary poet Vara Vara Rao.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, an accused is entitled to default bail if the investigating agency fails to file the charge sheet within 90 days of registration of an offence.
A prosecuting agency cannot detain an accused beyond the 90-day period without filing the charge sheet. In case of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), under which Bharadwaj had been arrested, this can be extended to 180 days.
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 Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.
Pune police claimed that Bharadwaj had links with Maoists and had conspired to create the violence at Bhima Koregaon.