SC Rejects NIA’s Plea Against Sudha Bharadwaj’s bail in Elgar Parishad Case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the National Investigation Agency’s appeal challenging the Bombay High Court order that granted default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj regarding the Elgar Parishad- Moaist Case.

“We see no reason to interfere with the high court order,” said a bench of Justices U U lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi. Court refused to consider the submissions raised by the NIA which had moved the apex court against the December 1 order.

Bharadwaj was arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case in August 2018 under the provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The top court had agreed on Monday to accord urgent hearing to the NIA plea challenging the Bombay High Court order granting default bail to Bharadwaj.

The activist lawyer, who was accused of plotting conspiracy to overthrow the Union government, was entitled to bail, and its denial would be in breach of her fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, the high court had said.

It had directed that Bharadwaj, who was 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.

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

The high court 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 the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

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