Supreme Court to hear Teesta Setalvad bail plea on August 22

Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad, arrested in a case of conspiracy and fabrication of evidence related to 2002 Gujarat riots, has approached the Supreme Court seeking bail in the case.

Advocate Aparna Bhat mentioned Setalvad’s plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, who agreed to list it before a bench presided by Justice U U Lalit on August 22.

Setalvad said her appeal was being filed against the final judgment and order dated July 30, passed by the Additional Principal Sessions Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court, Ahmedabad, “refusing to grant bail to the petitioner”, and the August 3 order of Gujarat High Court, which had fixed “an extremely long date in a matter which is about personal liberty”.

The plea cited the SC ruling in Arnab Goswami case, in which the court underlined the importance of liberty and also judgments where the top court had set a time-line for adjudication of bail applications by high courts. It pointed out that in a 2017 ruling, the SC had said that “high courts are requested to ensure that bail applications filed before them are decided as far as possible within one month and criminal appeals where accused are in custody for more than five years are concluded at the earliest”.

Setalvad said, “Both these judgments were not followed in the present case.” Explaining her work, the petitioner said she and her husband had left full-time jobs to begin the monthly journal, ‘Communalism Combat’, in 1993 and that the publication opposed communalism “of all hues” — “communalism in the name of Islam as much as in the name of Hinduism”.

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