NIA Moves Supreme Court Against Elgar Parishad Accused Activist Sudha Bharadwaj's Bail
By: Rishabh Negi
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), on Saturday, approached the Supreme Court against the bail granted to lawyer and rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj - one of the 16 accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, Bar and Bench reported.
On December 1, the Mumbai High Court had granted Bharadwaj default bail saying that the extension of time for the investigation and detention under provisions of Section 43D(2) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure had not been done by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Bharadwaj’s initial default bail set for January 2019 had been rejected, and a Pune sessions court judge extended her detention period.
In its Saturday ruling, the High Court said that considering Pune already has an NIA special court, the sessions judge did not have any authority to extend the detention. The bench concluded that Bharadwaj needed to be presented before the NIA special court on December 8, and her bail conditions must be set.
As per the text of the UAPA, anyone who has been detained under the law has the right to be granted default bail after 90 days of their detention. This default bail can only be terminated by a court with proper authority, usually a sessions court. In case, the arrest has been made by a federal law enforcement agency such as the CBI, the NIA or the NCB, only their special court can cancel this bail.
Bharadwaj is the first among the 16 activists arrested in the case to be granted default bail. Poet-activist Varavara Rao is currently being treated at a private hospice on medical bail. At the same time, octogenarian Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died in a private hospital on July 5 this year while waiting for medical bail.
Interestingly, the Mumbai High Court had rejected the default bail pleas filed by Bharadwaj’s fellow Elgar-Parishad accused Sudhir Dhawale, Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Arun Ferreira. In all of those cases, the HC had reasoned that special courts had already scrapped their default applications.
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