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Issue of Bail under anti-terrorism cases

Synopsis: Bombay HC granted bail in UAPA case on health grounds. It will set a new example of upholding the individual’s right in anti-terrorism cases.

Background

  • Bombay High Court granted bail to poet Varavara Rao on medical grounds. He was jailed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for the Bhima Koregaon case.
  • Recently, Varavara Rao was admitted to the Nanavati Hospital after his condition deteriorated due to some ailments.
  • NIA was of the opinion that there is a statutory bar under Section 43D (5) of the UAPA on providing bail if the accusation against a person is prima facie true. Also when the accused has access to treatment in a government hospital. Bail on the health grounds will attract a flood of such petitions.
  • However, HC ruled that even provisions of anti-terrorism law cannot curb the right to life under Article 21.

Grounds for Bail in Anti-terrorism cases

  1. Supreme Court ruling in 2019 made it nearly impossible to grant bails in the cases of UAPA. It is possible only in the case when an accused could prove charges against him to be prima facie untrue.
  2. However, recently, SC held that prolonged imprisonment without any near possibility of completion of the trial is a ground for bail.
  3. In this case, too, HC observed the same situations before granting the bail. It was observed that there was no possibility of early completion of the trial. Moreover, charges are yet to be framed.

This HC judgment will set a new precedent of valuing human Rights over National Security Laws.

Judiciary

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