New Delhi: The Supreme Court has given relief to social activist Teesta Setalvad. In a case related to the Gujarat riots, the High Court had asked him to surrender immediately, but in a judgment announced at 10 pm on Saturday night, the Supreme Court granted him a week’s protection from arrest.
the petitioner should have been given some time
A three-judge bench in the apex court said- “We find that the petitioner should have been granted some time by the single judge of the Gujarat High Court. With this in view, we ban for a week. Teesta has been on interim bail since September but will face immediate arrest if the Supreme Court upholds the new High Court order.
Gujarat HC had rejected the bail plea
Earlier on Saturday, the Gujarat High Court had rejected Setalvad’s regular bail plea. He was ordered to surrender immediately. The court accused Setalvad of trying to disrupt the democratically elected government and malign the reputation of the then Chief Minister and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Justice Nirjar Desai, who is presiding over the case, expressed concern that granting bail would send a wrong signal of leniency in a democratic country.
Supreme Court grants interim protection to activist Teesta Setalvad, whose regular bail was rejected by the Gujarat High Court today in a case of alleged fabrication of evidence in relation to the 2002 Gujarat riots. High Court asked her to surrender immediately. pic.twitter.com/xjOkDnAab1– Advertisement –
— ANI (@ANI) July 1, 2023
accused of fabricating evidence to implicate innocent people
Setalvad was arrested in June last year along with former Gujarat Director General of Police RB Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt. All three were accused of fabricating evidence to implicate innocent people in cases related to the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Supreme Court granted interim bail to Setalvad on September 2, 2022.
danger to nation or state
The High Court judgment had said that Setalvad had used her close associates and riot victims to file false and fabricated affidavits before the Supreme Court to undermine the establishment. The court expressed concern that similar tactics could be used in the future to destabilize a government or pose a threat to the nation or a particular state.
Help with the intention of personal and political gain
The court also commented on Setalvad’s role as a social leader, saying she helped riot victims with the intention of personal and political gains. Setalvad, a Padma Shri recipient and former member of the Planning Commission, was also accused of preparing false affidavits, persuading victims to file it in the Supreme Court and other fora. The court further said that the leniency shown towards Setalvad may encourage others to act illegally. The court also noted that she can go to any extent to achieve her agenda, which includes intimidating witnesses and tampering with evidence.
Jafri’s petition rejected
The case against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt was registered following the June 24 verdict in the Zakia Jafri case. The Supreme Court had dismissed the petition filed by Jafri. Her husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots. The 2002 Gujarat riots were sparked by a mob setting fire to a coach of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra station.