Mumbai: Observing that the Pune court was not competent to extend time of detention under UAPA, the Bombay high court on Wednesday granted default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the 2018 Bhima Koregao-Elgar Parishad violence case.
The division bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar granted bail to Ms Bharadwaj but directed that she be produced before the special NIA court that would decide conditions on which she would be released. She is currently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla women’s prison.
Ms Bharadwaj's counsel Yug Chaudhry had cited an RTI reply from the high court registry to argue that additional sessions judge K.D. Vadane of the Pune court, who had heard the case of Ms Bharadwaj, was not designated to do so regarding scheduled offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Mr Chaudhry had also contended that a recent Supreme Court judgment said that special courts alone can try UAPA offences.
While the HC accepted these contentions and granted bail to Ms Bharadwaj the bench rejected the default bail applications filed by eight other accused in the same case — Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Arun Ferreira.