The Apex Court, on Thursday, made strong observations against Gujarat High Court’s order of adjournment, noting that the High Court had issued notice on activist Teesta Setalvad’s plea on August 2 but posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks.
The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia made some strong observations against the Gujarat High Court’s order of adjournment. “Give us a case where a lady is in confinement on charges like this and the High Court has given a date like this. What is normal pattern in bail cases like this,” the bench asked Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta who was representing the state government. The Apex court then posted the case for hearing tomorrow, Friday.
Among other pertinent points, the honourable court questioned the Gujarat Police why no chargesheet had been filed yet. The court also noted: “The FIR does not mention anything but the SC observations and there is no offence involved which bars the grant of bail.”
Pertinently, the bench during the hearing, made an inclination to grant bail but did not pass any order in that regard. “These are not offences like murder or bodily injury but these are based on documents like forgery etc. In these matters after normal police custody is over, there is no valid reason for the police to seek an extension. Over and above that, she is a lady,” CJI Lalit observed.
It may be recalled that activist Teesta Setalvad was arrested for “allegedly” fabricating documents to frame high-ranking officials including the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Godhra riots cases. Thereon, Setalvad moved the top court seeking bail, which in turn, on August 22 had a issued notice to the Gujarat government seeking a reply.
Setalvad’s arrest came after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had made adverse remarks against her on June 24 while dismissing the plea by Zakia Jafri, wife of slain Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed during the 2002 Gujarat Riots. Zakia Jafri had challenged the Gujarat High Court’s decision of 2017 upholding the magistrate’s decision to accept the closure report filed by the SIT in the case. While dismissing the plea, the top court had made observations against Setalvad and former DGP Sreekumar, terming them “disgruntled.”