Bhima Koregaon case: SC turns down Sudha Bharadwaj’s plea for bail on medical grounds

Sudha Bharadwaj, 58, has been lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Jail since 2018. She had earlier filed an appeal before the High Court after the Special NIA Court rejected her bail plea

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed as withdrawn a plea filed on behalf of Sudha Bharadwaj, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, seeking interim bail amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legal news website has reported.

A Bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi heard a plea against the Bombay High Court order which had dismissed Bharadwaj's earlier attempt to get interim bail on medical grounds amid the pandemic.

Appearing for Bharadwaj, advocate Vrinda Grover sought interim bail on the grounds that her client was suffering from diabetes and had other co-morbidities. Grover said that while spending the last two years in jail, Bharadwaj had developed arthritis and a heart condition.

When asked what the case against Bhardwaj was, Grover said, "There is a criminal conspiracy which is set to be hatched by her. She was practicing in Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) High Court. It is nobody's case that any material is recovered from her..."

Justice Lalit then asked why a regular bail plea was not filed. Grover replied that such a plea is pending before the High Court.

When Lalit J noted that the High Court order stated that Bharadwaj's medication was in order, Grover said, "I only seek your indulgence to get checked. These tests cannot happen in the jail hospital."

Justice Rastogi then noted that she was examined by the jail authorities on August 20.

Grover then went on to dispute the same, while reading out the medication given to Bharadwaj in jail. Justice Rastogi then asked, "Are you saying this report is false? You have a good case on merits. Why don't you file a regular bail application?"

With the Court noting that Bharadwaj's condition needed a deeper look, and that a regular bail plea could be filed, the plea was dismissed as withdrawn.

Sudha Bharadwaj, 58, has been lodged in Mumbai's Byculla Women's Jail since 2018. She had earlier filed an appeal before the High Court after the Special NIA Court rejected her bail plea.

While holding that no case was made out for interim bail, the High Court noted that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Maharashtra government, and the prison authorities were taking all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that she was being given the necessary medical care.

The High Court had also directed the Maharashtra government to submit Bharadwaj’s latest health report and an affidavit within a week clarifying how it proposed to implement safety guidelines and the court’s PUCL judgement in the Byculla prison to protect inmates.

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