SC to hear Teesta Setalvad's plea against Gujarat HC order on Wednesdaytext_fields
New Delhi: Teesta Setalvad, a social activist, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court that challenges the Gujarat High Court's decision to deny her request for regular bail and order her to surrender right away in a case involving the alleged fabrication of evidence to falsely accuse individuals in 2002 cases following the Godhra riots. The petition is set to be heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The highest court had granted Setalvad protection from arrest and granted a week-long stay on the high court's ruling during an extraordinary late-night session on July 1.
“This court considering the application for grant of interim bail had granted the same on certain conditions, vide order dated September 2, 2022. One of the factors that weighed with this court was that the petitioner was a lady and as such entitled to special protection under Section 437 CrPC,” the bench had noted in its order.
“We find that, taking into consideration this fact, the single judge ought to have granted at least some protection so that the petitioner has sufficient time to challenge the order passed by the single judge before this court.
“In that view of the matter, without considering anything on merits of the matter, finding that the single judge was not correct in granting even some protection, we grant a stay of the impugned order passed by the high court for a period of one week from today,” it had said.
The apex court had said the registry shall obtain orders from the Chief Justice of India for listing Setalvad’s bail plea before an appropriate bench.
During the hearing on July 1, senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for Setalvad, had submitted that the top court had on September 2, 2022, granted interim protection to the activist till the high court decided her bail application.
Singh had stated it is nobody’s case that she has violated any condition of the interim bail granted to her.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, had urged the apex court to give the same treatment to Setalvad as to any ordinary citizen.
The three-judge bench had heard the matter in a special sitting on July 1 after a two-judge vacation bench on the same day had differed on granting interim protection from arrest to Setalvad.
Facing impending arrest, Setalvad promptly moved the apex court seeking protection from arrest but the two-judge vacation bench could not reach a consensus on granting her interim relief.
The vacation bench of justices Abhay S Oka and Prashant Kumar Mishra had referred the matter to CJI D Y Chandrachud, who swiftly put together a bench of three judges to hear Setalvad’s petition challenging the high court order at 9:15 PM on July 1.
Earlier on July 1, Justice Nirzar Desai of the Gujarat High Court had directed her to surrender immediately.
Setalvad was out of jail after having secured interim bail from the apex court in September last year.
The court had observed Setalvad made attempts to unsettle a democratically elected government and sully the image of the then chief minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and tried to send him to jail.
Setalvad was arrested in June last year along with former Gujarat Director General of Police R B Sreekumar and ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in an offence registered by Ahmedabad crime branch police for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame “innocent people” in the post-Godhra riots cases.
In its judgment, the high court had observed that prima facie Setalvad used her close associates and riot victims to file “false and fabricated affidavits before the Supreme Court with a view to unseat the establishment and to tarnish the image of establishment and the then chief minister (Modi)”.
With PTI inputs