The Supreme Court granted interim bail to activist Teesta Setalvad, arrested in June for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame “innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases on Friday.
She has been asked to surrender her passport to the trial court, till the Gujarat high court decides on her regular bail plea. She has also been asked to cooperate with the investigating agency.
The apex court observed while granting relief to Teesta Setalvad that the appellant has been in custody for more than two months and at this stage is certainly entitled to the relief of interim bail during the pendency of consideration of her substantive application which is pending before HC.
The court also said it has considered the matter only from the standpoint of interim bail and the Gujarat high court shall decide Teesta Setalvad’s bail plea independently and uninfluenced by any observations made by the Supreme Court.
The matter had come up for hearing on Thursday as well, when CJI UU Lalit orally observed that offenses against Setalvad are normal IPC offenses, having no bar on grant of bail.
CJI Lalit said these are not offenses like murder or bodily injury but based on documents like forgery etc. In these matters the normal idea is after normal police custody is over, there is nothing for the police to insist on custody.
The court had also expressed surprise at the delay in listing Setalvad‘s bail plea by the Gujarat high court, that on August 3 issued a notice to the state government on the plea and fixed the matter for hearing on September 19.
An apparently displeased CJI had said Give us instances where a lady accused in such cases has got such dates from the high court. Either this lady has been made an exception. How can the court give this date? Is this standard practice in Gujarat?
Teesta Setalvad was arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame “innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.
In response to her bail plea, the Gujarat government said that the activist had “enacted” the conspiracy along with other accused at the behest of a senior political leader.
A sessions court at Ahmedabad, on July 30, rejected the bail application of Setalvad.
On August 22, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Gujarat government on the bail plea.
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