Elgar Parishad case: SC dismisses NIA’s plea against activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s bail

While granting her bail on December 1, the Bombay High Court had said that denying her bail would be in breach of her fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution

Sudha Bharadwaj is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Jail | File photo: PTI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (December 7) turned down the NIA’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court’s grant of default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Elgar Parishad case.

A bench of Justices U U lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi said that the court saw no reason to upend the high court’s December 1 order.  The top court on Monday had agreed to accord urgent hearing to the NIA plea challenging the Bombay High Court’s order.

Bharadwaj was arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case in August 2018 under the provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on charges of conspiring to overthrow the Union government. While granting her bail, the High Court said denying her bail would be in breach of her fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

It court had 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.

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Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail.

Also read: Bombay HC grants bail to Sudha Bharadwaj in Bhima Koregaon case

Poet-activist Varavara Rao is currently on medical bail.

Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died in a private hospital on July 5 this year while waiting for medical bail. The others are in custody as under trials.

The Bombay High Court, however, had rejected the default bail plea filed by eight other co-accused in the case – Sudhir Dhawale, Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

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 located on the city’s outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed that the event was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

(With inputs from agencies)

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