Bhima Koregaon: Anand Teltumbde to Be Released as CJI-led SC Bench Upholds Bail
The Bombay High Court had granted him bail last week but the NIA had filed a plea against it in the top court.
The Supreme Court on Friday, 25 November, dismissed the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) plea against the Bombay High Court order granting bail to Anand Teltumbde, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case.
The 73-year-old prolific anti-caste writer and activist, who will now be released, is the third one in the case to get bail after co-accused Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj.
He is, however, the only one out of the 16 accused to have been granted bail on merits (meaning: no prima facie case was made out against him, according to the Bombay High Court order.)
The Bombay High Court had on 18 November granted bail to Teltumbde, who has been in jail since April 2020 on charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
However, the National Investigation agency (NIA) had requested that the operation of the High Court's order be stayed for it to be able to approach the Supreme Court to challenge his bail.
The High Court then gave a go-ahead to the NIA's request and stayed the operation of the bail order for a week.
A two-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and including Justice Hima Kohli refused to interfere with the High Court's order but said:
"Observations of the High Court shall not be treated as conclusive conclusion in all proceedings."
During the Supreme Court hearing, the CJI also asked the Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the NIA, what his role was in the case:
"What is the specific role to bring UAPA sections into action? The IIT Madras event you alleged is for Dalit mobilisation. Is Dalit mobilisation preparatory act to proscribed activity?"
A special NIA court had rejected his bail plea last year; Teltumbde, challenging the rejection, had then approached the High Court.
He had claimed that neither was he present at the Elgar Parishad event on 31 December 2017 nor did he make any provocative speeches.
He had further argued that the NIA had misattributed as a terrorist under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), even though there were no charges of direct violence against him.
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