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'Fallacious': Maha Govt Opposes Sudha Bharadwaj's Default Bail Plea

Bharadwaj had filed her default bail plea challenging two orders of Judge KD Vadane.

Published
Law
2 min read
File image of Sudha Bharadwaj.
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Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, on Thursday, 15 July, opposed the default bail plea of Suddha Bharadwaj, an incarcerated UAPA accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.

“The case of the petitioner that 'the order of the sessions court is without jurisdiction' is fallacious,” Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said, according to Bar and Bench.

Further, as per LiveLaw, Kumbhakoi claimed that cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act would go to a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, only after the agency has been entrusted with the probe.

“Despite the constitution of special courts, just because UAPA is added, the NIA Act wouldn’t apply,” Kumbhakoi said.

According to Bar and Bench, the AG claimed that a special court was constituted only to hear those matters that were being probed by NIA at a trial stage, and “at the stage of investigation nobody can predict if there is going to be a trial or not".

AG Kumbhakoi is expected to continue his submissions on 23 July.

BHARADWAJ’S PLEA

Bharadwaj had filed her default bail plea at the Bombay High Court challenging two orders of Judge KD Vadane, contending that Vadane was not appointed as a special judge under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act. Thus, his order granting a 90-day extension to the Pune Police to file its chargesheet was sans jurisdiction.

Vadane, further, was not authorised to take cognisance of the 1,800 page supplementary charge sheet filed by the Pune Police in 2019, Bharadwaj contended.

“When judgments(orders) are passed without jurisdiction, they are crushed and thrown in the dustbin,” Bharadwaj’s counsel Yug Chaudhry was quoted by LiveLaw as saying.


Pointing out that Vadane even wrote ‘Special Judge’ below his name, Chaudhry stated that as per the NIA Act, if the Special Court was not constituted, then the Sessions Court could try scheduled offences under the NIA Act. However, according to RTI replies, there were other Courts available, but the case was still taken to Vadane, he submitted.

On 8 July, the Bombay High Court had stated that the court's records were consistent with Bharadjwaj’s RTI replies, as per which, Vadane was not appointed as a Special Judge during the period.

BACKGROUND

Sudha Bharadwaj, 61, is a human rights lawyer. She was arrested under the UAPA in 2018, and is presently lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla jail, in connection with the case.

Her co-accused Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and a tribal rights activist, passed away on 5 July, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, a special court on Monday, 12 July, rejected the bail application of former IIT professor and academic Anand Teltumbde, another co-accused in the case.

(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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