Bhima Koregaon case accused Sudha Bharadwaj has strong grounds to seek bail but she cannot be granted one on the basis of her medical condition, the Supreme Court said. It said she should file a fresh application for bail on the basis of her case.
The Maharashtra police had arrested Bharadwaj for taking part in the Bhima Koregaon celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle between the Peshwa rulers and the British East India Company, whose troops mainly consisted of members from the Dalit community.
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Bharadwaj, along with activists such as Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Anand Teltumbde, have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly instigating violence with their speeches during the event.
She had filed a bail application in the Supreme Court saying she feared for her health in custody at the Byculla Jail in Mumbai amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 as she had other serious health conditions. She also said the police had not found anything to incriminate her in the case.
On hearing this, the Supreme Court bench consisting of justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi said, “We are not with you on medical grounds. You have a good case on merits. Why are you not filing for bail on merits?,” reported Hindustan Times.
She will now file a fresh plea for bail on the basis of the case filed against her. Bharadwaj had approached the apex court for bail through lawyer Vrinda Grover after her application was rejected by the Bombay High Court.
In the application for bail on medical grounds, Grover said Bharadwaj had been diagnosed with ischemic heart condition while she was in jail. The condition is dangerous, she said.
“Why are you not filing for bail on merits,” asked justice Lalit, while justice Rastogi said, “You have a good case on merits,” reported Hindustan Times.
The Maharashtra police was investigating the case initially. It was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).