In a significant development, the Supreme Court has granted regular bail to activist Teesta Setalvad in a case linked to the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases. Teesta Setalvad was arrested on charges of allegedly fabricating evidence to “frame innocent people” in the aftermath of the Godhra riots. The three-judge bench of Justices B R Gavai, A S Bopanna, and Dipankar Datta set aside the Gujarat High Court’s order that had rejected her plea for regular bail.
Background of the Case
The case against Teesta Setalvad and others dates back to the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, India. The riots were a tragic and polarizing event that led to widespread violence and loss of lives. In the aftermath of the riots, several individuals were accused of inciting violence and fabricating evidence to implicate innocent people.
Supreme Court’s Verdict
During the hearing, the Supreme Court bench noted that a charge sheet had been filed against Teesta Setalvad in the case. However, the court found that her custodial interrogation was not necessary and, therefore, granted her regular bail. The bench also ordered that her surrendered passport be kept in the custody of the session court. Furthermore, the court directed Teesta Setalvad not to attempt to influence witnesses and to stay away from them.
Police’s Authority to Approach the Highest Court
In a significant move to protect the integrity of the case, the Supreme Court granted the Gujarat Police the freedom to approach the highest court directly in case any attempt was made to tamper with the witnesses involved in the case. This measure highlights the court’s commitment to ensuring a fair trial and preventing any interference in the judicial process.
Previous Decisions and Court Proceedings
Teesta Setalvad, along with former Gujarat Director General of Police RB Sreekumar and ex-IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, was taken into custody on June 25, last year, by the Ahmedabad crime branch police. The case against them was registered for allegedly fabricating evidence to frame innocent people in the post-Godhra riots cases.
On July 30, 2022, the bail applications of Setalvad and Sreekumar were dismissed by an Ahmedabad sessions court. The court’s decision was based on the premise that granting their release would send a wrong message to wrongdoers, suggesting that making baseless allegations carries no consequences and allows them to escape accountability.
The High Court had, on August 3, 2022, issued a notice to the state government regarding the bail plea of Teesta Setalvad and fixed the matter for hearing on September 19. Faced with the High Court’s stance, she moved the Supreme Court (SC) for interim bail after the High Court refused to consider her plea.
The Supreme Court’s decision to grant regular bail to activist Teesta Setalvad in the post-Godhra riots case marks an important development in the legal proceedings. The court’s emphasis on avoiding custodial interrogation and ensuring fair treatment underscores the significance of upholding justice and safeguarding the rights of the accused. This verdict paves the way for a comprehensive and impartial trial, and it highlights the need for accountability and fairness in dealing with sensitive cases.
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Who is Teesta Setalvad?
Teesta Setalvad is an activist who has been actively involved in seeking justice for victims of the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
What were the charges against Teesta Setalvad?
Teesta Setalvad was accused of fabricating evidence to implicate innocent people in the post-Godhra riots cases.
When was Teesta Setalvad arrested?
She was taken into custody on June 25, last year, by the Ahmedabad crime branch police.
What was the Gujarat High Court’s decision regarding her bail plea?
The Gujarat High Court had rejected her plea for regular bail, which led her to approach the Supreme Court for interim bail.
What did the Supreme Court order regarding her passport?
The Supreme Court ordered that her surrendered passport be kept in the custody of the session court.