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Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay HC grants default bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj

Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay HC grants default bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted default bail to activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, Live Law reported.

The condition of the bail will be set by the special National Investigation Agency Court.

A division bench comprising of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar, however, rejected the default bail plea filed by eight other accused Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling and Varavara Rao in the case.

Bharadwaj is among the 14 activists, lawyers and academicians still in jail for allegedly conspiring to set off caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018.

Bharadwaj had filed a plea in the high court arguing that she should be granted default bail as the Pune sessions judge KD Vadane had no jurisdiction to take cognisance of chargesheet filed against them.

Judge Vadane had passed several orders in the case (when the case was still being investigated by the Pune Police), granting an extension to file a charge sheet in 2018 and taking cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Pune Police against Bharadwaj (among others) in 2019.

This was argued by Bharadwaj's lawyer, senior advocate Dr Yug Mohit Chaudhry, that only a special court designated under the NIA Act could deal with cases involving UAPA offences, as these are 'scheduled offences' under the NIA Act.

The Supreme Court in the recent Bikramjit Singh case held that all offences under the UAPA had to be tried exclusively by special courts designated under the NIA Act. Only these courts had the power to extend the time for filing charge sheets and taking cognisance of them.

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TAGS:Bhima Koregaon case Bombay High Court Sudha Bharadwaj 
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