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Supreme Court Stays Gujarat HC Order, Grants Interim Relief to Teesta Setalvad

In a late evening hearing, the Supreme Court on Saturday, 1 July, granted interim relief to Teesta Setalvad.

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In a late evening hearing, on Saturday, 1 July, the Supreme Court granted interim relief to activist Teesta Setalvad.

As per Bar and Bench, the apex court said:

"We find that taking into consideration this fact, the learned single judge (of High Court) ought to have granted some time to the petitioner to challenge the order. In that view, we grant stay for one week. Registry to obtain orders from CJI for listing before appropriate bench."

The order was passed by a bench of Justices BR Gavai, AS Bopanna and Dipankar Dutta.

WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT?

Social activist Teesta Setalvad had moved the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court rejected her regular bail plea and ordered her to “surrender immediately.”

During the course of the hearing, Justice Dutta reportedly noted that a High Court order denying Setalvad bail had come on a Saturday and said that when there is a difference of opinion then the court "leans in favour of liberty."

Further, the Supreme Court, as per Bar and Bench, observed that even an ordinary accused would get time to challenge the High Court order. Justice Gavai also pointed out to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the state: "You are a mighty Solicitor appearing for a mighty state."

In response to this, the SG reportedly said: "I am not a mighty Solicitor, (I'm) appearing for a good state."

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PREVIOUSLY...

A special bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Prashant Kumar Mishra, had previously heard her plea on Saturday evening.

The bench referred the matter to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, requesting him to place it before a larger bench, ANI reported.

Setalvad was out on interim bail in a case related to the 2002 post-Godhra riots for allegedly fabricating evidence “to frame innocent people.”

Gujarat High Court's Justice Nirzar Desai had said that since Setalvad is already out of jail after the Supreme Court granted her interim bail, she should now surrender immediately. 

Last year on 25 June, Gujarat Police had arrested Setalvad, following which she was sent to judicial custody, with former Director General of Police R B Sreekumar, who is a co-accused in the case. 

What’s the case? The Supreme Court, last year, had dismissed a plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri. Jafri’s plea was against the Gujarat special investigation team that had given a clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.

However, the Supreme Court said that the plea had been filed for “ulterior design.” It also said:

“All those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceed in accordance with law.”

Following the apex court’s order, the Ahmedabad crime branch filed a First Information Report against Setalvad, Sreekumar and jailed former IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, accusing them of fabricating evidence to implicate the then CM. 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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