Activist Teesta Setalvad, jailed since June on suspicion of “conspiracy to destabilize the Gujarat government after the 2002 riots”, was released on provisional bail from the Supreme Court today, saying police had had enough time to try her.
The tone of the court was in line with yesterday’s comments, when it said “in this case the court cannot grant bail”, as was “she is a lady”.
After the formalities are done tomorrow, she is likely to be released from prison.
After her bail request was rejected by a local court in Ahmedabad in July, she went to the Gujarat High Court, which on August 3 issued her request six weeks later – the Supreme Court in its The order does not particularly appreciate this timeline today. However, her petitions for regular bail and the dismissal of the FIR will continue to be made in the High Court. “HC should consider an interim bail request while the case is pending,” the Supreme Court justices, led by Chief Justice UU Lalit, said in today’s observation.
The case against her also relates to some of the Supreme Court’s June 24 opinion. She was arrested two days after the court rejected her and Zakia Jafri’s pleas – her husband Ehsan Jafri, a former MP, was killed in the riots – in which they challenged an investigation that cleared Any misconduct by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The request was “by design for ulterior motives, apparently to bring the pot to a boil,” the bench then said, citing the state’s argument. It also said that “all persons involved in this abuse of process need to be dealt with in accordance with the law in the dock.”
The police used this as a basis for the FIR against Ms. Setalvad.
“But the FIR is just the opinion of the court,” said her lawyer, Kapil Sibal. He told the court yesterday that she was accused of falsifying documents to bring a case against the 2002 riots, but police did not specify which documents. The police even said she took advantage of older Zakia Jafri’s emotions, although Ms. Jafri did not say such things.
In granting bail today, the court noted the charges relate to the 2002-12 period. “The investigative body has been granted a 7-day supervised trial,” said the three judges, judges S Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, in addition to CJI.
She has been behind bars for more than two months, but no charges have yet been filed, the judge said yesterday.