NIA Appeals Against Default Bail Granted to Sudha Bharadwaj in Supreme Court

The Bombay high court had granted the rights activist and lawyer default bail on December 1.

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New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency has challenged the Bombay high court order granting default bail to lawyer and rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Supreme Court.

On December 1, the high court had granted Bharadwaj default bail saying that the extension of time for 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.

The bail conditions, the high court said, will be decided by the special NIA court on December 8.

The court noted, “The hard facts which thus emerge so far as the application of Sudha Bharadwaj are : (i) that the period of detention of 90 days (excluding the period of house arrest) expired on 25th January 2019; (ii) no charge-sheet was lodged; (iii) there was no lawful order of extension of the period of detention; and (iv) an application preferred by Sudha Bharadwaj for default bail awaited adjudication.”

“As the period of detention was extended by the learned Additional Sessions Judge by 90 days, the applicant, Sudha Bharadwaj, could not have applied for default bail after 25th January 2019 till the fling of the chargesheet. Therefore, it cannot be urged that the applicant-Sudha Bharadwaj did not make an application during the said period and thus she did not avail the right of default bail,” the bench continued.

Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 in the Elgar Parishad case. Eight other rights activists had also applied for default bail, but the Bombay high court rejected their pleas, saying that they had “failed to apply for default bail when the right accrues to him (them) and subsequently a chargesheet is filed before the magistrate, the right to default bail would get extinguished as it cannot be said that the accused ‘availed of’ his right to be released on default bail”.

As soon as Bharadwaj had been granted default bail, the NIA had said that it would be appealing the order in the Supreme Court and even asked for a stay on the bail order.