2 Jul 2023

Teesta Setalvad Gets Relief From Supreme Court; What Court Said In Late Night Hearing

New Delhi: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court has given interim bail to human rights activist and lawyer Teesta Setalvad.

The court has given interim relief of one week to Teesta and has also stayed the Gujarat High Court's order.

On Saturday itself, the Gujarat High Court had rejected Teesta Setalvad's bail plea and asked her to 'surrender immediately'.

Teesta reached the Supreme Court the same day after her bail plea was rejected.

During the hearing held on Saturday night, Justice BR Gavai, who was presiding over the Supreme Court bench, asked what would be the harm if Teesta gets bail for another eight days?

During the hearing, the Solicitor General requested that instead of staying the order, the court may give Teesta a little more time to surrender.

But Justice Gavai said that the court is giving her interim bail as well as staying the order of the High Court.

In a special late night hearing, a rarity on holidays and during vacations, a bench of Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna and Dipankar Datta questioned the denial of time to Setalvad to appeal against the HC order, saying even an ordinary criminal is entitled to some form of interim relief.

Petitioner is a woman and entitled to special protection

The SC said, "In ordinary circumstances, we would not have considered such a request. However, it is to be noted that after FIR was registered on June 25, 2022, and the petitioner was arrested, this court considered the prayer for grant of interim bail and granted the same on certain conditions on September 2, 2022. One of the factors which weighed with this court was that the petitioner is a woman and entitled to special protection under section 437 of CrPC.

"We find that taking into consideration this fact, the learned single judge of the HC ought to have granted some protection so that the petitioner has sufficient time to challenge the order passed by the single judge," the SC bench said after a 37-minute hearing.

Teesta Setalvad was arrested by the Gujarat Police in June last year. She was accused of fabricating evidence to implicate "innocent people" in cases related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

In September 2022, the Supreme Court granted her interim bail.

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