Supreme Court Refuses to Entertain Sudha Bharadwaj's Bail Plea

"You have a good case on merits. Why don't you file a regular bail application?" the bench said, in response to a petition seeking bail on medical grounds.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking bail to lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who has been detained in the Bhima Koregaon case that is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Ajay Rastogi dismissed as withdrawn the plea filed by Bharadwaj.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the activist has been in jail for over two years and charges have not been not framed in the case.

Nothing has been recovered from the petitioner and no incriminating material found, she said.

Referring to her health condition, the lawyer said Bharadwaj is suffering from diabetes and other comorbidities.

“They are giving me medicine but several tests are required. Grant me interim bail. I will get diagnosed myself and thereafter surrender myself,” she said.

The apex court noted that a bail plea is pending in the high court.

Grover said that she sought the court’s indulgence to get checked and the tests cannot happen in the jail hospital.

“You have a good case on merits. Why don’t you file a regular bail application?” the bench said.

The court then said, “either you withdraw it or we will dismiss it” and suggested that a regular bail plea can be filed.

The plea was then withdrawn.

Bharadwaj, 58, had earlier approached the Bombay high court seeking bail, saying that she suffered from chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

She had said comorbidities put her at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus while at the Byculla women’s prison, where an inmate had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier.

The court, however, had noted the submissions made by the NIA and the Maharashtra government that the prison authorities were taking all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that they were providing necessary medical care to Bharadwaj for her comorbidities.

On August 21, pursuant to a high court order, the state government had submitted a report stating that Bharadwaj had been examined in the prison by a medical officer and that her health condition was found to be “stable and satisfactory”.

The report stated that Bharadwaj’s vital health parameters were stable although she had been suffering from mild depression and had complained of body ache.

The state said that Bharadwaj had been given medication for dizziness and had been advised to continue medicines for her chronic conditions.

Bharadwaj has been lodged in the Byculla women’s prison since September 2018 following her arrest in the case.