SC Grants Bail to Prof Shoma Sen in Bhima Koregaon Case
Moneylife Digital Team 05 April 2024
The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Dalit and women's rights activist professor Shoma Sen, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. 
 
A bench of justice Aniruddha Bose and justice Augustine George Masih passed the order after noting that the national investigation agency (NIA) did not oppose her bail and, hence, the stringent conditions for bail under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) would not apply, says a report from Bar & Bench.
 
"Section 43(D)(5) restriction should not apply to the petitioner. We have noted that additional solicitor general-ASG (who appeared for NIA) stated custody is no longer needed. Once we hold that 43(d)(5) of the 1967 act does not apply.... We have seen she is of advanced age and the effect of delaying trial at this stage.. in addition to her medical conditions. She should not be denied the privilege of being released on bail," the SC says in its order.
 
The bench, however, clarified that its observations are prima facie in nature and future course will be subject to examination of witnesses, and Prof Sen can be included in the trial.
 
Considering her advanced age with several ailments, a bench says Prof Sen should not be denied the benefit of bail.

The apex court asked Prof Sen not to leave Maharashtra without the permission of the trial court, and share her mobile location with the investigating officer.

While on bail, she will have to surrender her passport and tender her residence information and mobile number to NIA, as per the SC order.
 
In August last year, the apex court sought the response of the anti-terror agency on an interim bail application moved by Prof Sen, who was seeking temporary release for medical reasons.
 
She had petitioned the apex court against an order of the Bombay high court (HC) where her application seeking release was disposed of and she was asked to apply afresh for bail before the Special NIA court after the investigating agency had filed a charge sheet against her, and others.
 
In December 2021, the High Court granted default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj. However, the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar had declined the applications of eight other co-accused in the same case, including Prof Sen.
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