‘Perverse’: Supreme Court Sets Aside Gujarat HC Order, Grants Activist Teesta Setalvad Regular Bail

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While extending her regular bail, the apex court noted that the custodial interrogation of Setalvad is not required in the case as the charge sheet has already been filed before the trial court.

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted regular bail to activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with a case relating to alleged fabrication of evidence in 2002 Gujarat riots.

A special bench of Justices B.R. Gavai, A.S. Bopanna, and Dipankar Datta set aside the Gujarat High Court’s order denying her regular bail, deprecating its reasoning that a prima facie presumption of commission of an offence could be made against her if proceedings to quash criminal charges were not instituted by Setalvad.

The top court went on to say that such a finding by the High Court was “perverse”.

While extending her regular bail, the apex court noted that the custodial interrogation of Setalvad is not required in the case as the charge sheet has already been filed before the trial court.

The Supreme Court also cautioned Setalvad to not make any attempt to influence witnesses related with the case. It clarified that the prosecution may directly approach the top court if she makes any such attempt or if there is any other change in circumstances.

Also, Setalvad’s passport will continue to remain deposited with the trial court while she is out on bail.

The top court was hearing appeal of the activist Setalvad against Gujarat High Court’s order denying her regular bail and requiring her to “surrender immediately” in connection with an FIR lodged by the state police alleging fabrication of documents by her to implicate high government functionaries in 2002 Gujarat riots.

In a late evening special sitting convened on July 1, the apex court had granted her protection against arrest by staying the Gujarat High Court order of the same day.

Setalvad, who has been on interim bail since September last year, was asked by the Gujarat High Court to “surrender immediately” after rejecting her bail plea. She was arrested on June 25, 2022 by the Gujarat Police based on an FIR filed by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB). The charges against her include conspiring to falsely implicate innocent individuals in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. After seven days in police custody, she was sent to judicial custody on July 2. — IANS

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