SC dismisses Sudha Bharadwaj’s interim bail plea on medical grounds as withdrawn; says she stands a good chance of getting regular bail

The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed as withdrawn an appeal filed by activist-lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj seeking interim bail on medical grounds.

Since the division bench of Justices U U Lalit and Ajay Rastogi appeared disinclined to grant the bail on medical grounds, advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Bharadwaj, chose to withdraw the petition.

When Grover, at the outset, pointed out that Bharadwaj had been in jail without trial and framing of any charge against her for last two years, the bench observed that she had a good case on merits to seek regular bail.

“If you are approaching us only on medical grounds, we are not with you…”, the bench remarked.

Justice Lalit remarked that the High Court order stated that Bharadwaj’s medication was in order.

Grover pointed out that Bharadwaj was suffering from Ischemic Heart Disease, Diabetes, Osteoarthritis and Hypertension and her health had only been deteriorating for the last two years. She, therefore, sought for Bhardwaj’s release on bail so that she can get herself properly examined medically for the diseases.

“Bharadwaj was granted bail when her father had passed away. She has never abused the process of law”, Grover submitted.

When Justice Lalit sought to know the actual allegations against Bharadwaj in the FIR, Grover replied that it related to the Bhima Koregaon incident, where the investigation was still ongoing. She added a criminal conspiracy was alleged to have been hatched. Something was said to have been recovered from others’ devices, but nothing had been found on Bhardwaj or any of her devices.

“I am a practicing lawyer. I was also a teacher for two years at National Law University, Delhi. I am recognised nationally and globally for my work for the marginalised and deprived communities. No incriminating evidence was found against me,” Grover submitted on behalf of Bhardwaj.

Justice Rastogi took exception to the statement made before the High Court that the medical report was false, and insisted that Grover explain who made that statement. However, Grover persuaded the Court to consider the case and ignore that statement.

The plea eventually did not find favour with the Court who put to Grover either withdraw the petition or the Court would dismiss it.

Bombay High Court on August 28 had refused to grant bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj on medical grounds.

A division bench of Justices V G Bisht and RD Dhanuka accepted the statement made by the Public Prosecutor that as and when any further treatment, medication and hospitalization is required to Bharadwaj as may be advised by the concerned Medical Officer, it would be provided to the Appellant.

Bhardwaj, a 58-years old activist arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, is lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Jail since 2018. She had filed an appeal before the HC against the special NIA court’s rejection of her interim bail plea on medical grounds.