Today, a larger bench of the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case of Teesta Setalvad in relation to the 2002 Gujarat riots

Gujarat riots

Justice Nirzar Desai’s court has rejected social activist Teesta Setalvad’s plea for bail and ordered her immediate surrender due to her previous release on interim bail. The matter has now been referred to a larger bench led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as the two judges involved in the case held differing opinions.

Teesta Setalvad, known for her activism, approached the Supreme Court on Saturday after the Gujarat High Court denied her bail request in a case related to alleged document forgery during the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases. The Gujarat High Court, on Saturday, directed Setalvad to surrender immediately regarding the charges of fabricating evidence and influencing witnesses in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Despite her request for bail, the court denied Setalvad’s application, and she remains free under the interim bail granted to her by the Supreme Court in September of the previous year.

Furthermore, Setalvad’s lawyer appealed to the Gujarat High Court to reject her request for challenging the order.

Justice Nirzar Desai’s court refused Setalvad’s bail plea and instructed her to surrender forthwith due to her previous release on interim bail.

“As the petitioner is already out on interim bail granted by the High Court, she is directed to surrender forthwith,” the court stated in its order.

Moreover, the court declined Setalvad’s plea for a 30-day stay on the order after its announcement. A detailed order is anticipated.

On June 25 of the previous year, Setalvad, along with former Gujarat Director General of Police R.B. Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, were arrested by the Ahmedabad crime branch police on charges of fabricating evidence to implicate “innocent individuals” in cases related to the Godhra riots.

On July 30, 2022, an Ahmedabad sessions court rejected the bail applications of Setalvad and Sreekumar in the case, stating that their release would encourage others to make false accusations without consequences.

The High Court, on August 3, 2022, issued a notice to the state government regarding Setalvad’s bail plea and scheduled a hearing for September 19.

Meanwhile, after the high court refused to entertain her request for interim bail, Setalvad filed an application for it at the Supreme Court (SC).

On September 2 of the previous year, the Supreme Court granted her interim bail and instructed her to surrender her passport to the trial court until the regular bail plea was resolved by the Gujarat High Court. The top court also directed her to cooperate with the investigating agency in the case.

Setalvad was released from jail on September 3. The case against Setalvad and two others was registered days after the High Court’s June 24 decision in the Zakia Jafri case.

While dismissing the petition filed by Zakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed during the riots, the Supreme Court noted, “it appears to us that a concerted effort by disgruntled officials of the State of Gujarat, along with others, was to create a sensation by making revelations which were false to their own knowledge.”

The Supreme Court emphasized that all parties involved in such misuse of the legal process “must face legal consequences and proceed in accordance with the law.”

The Gujarat riots erupted in February 2002 following the torching of a Sabarmati Express coach near Godhra station by a mob.

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