Default bail rejection: Bombay HC rejects review pleas of Varavara Rao, others

Default bail rejection: Bombay HC rejects review pleas of Varavara Rao, others

The court held there was no error in its December order as the relevant documents were not placed before it during the course of the hearing

The Bombay high court on Wednesday rejected P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira’s pleas for review of the rejection of their default bail applications in December 2021 in the case related to the violence during an annual gathering in 2018 to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon near Pune.

Default bail rejection: Bombay HC rejects review pleas of Varavara Rao, others
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The three claimed the court erred in rejecting their applications, citing the default bail granted to another accused Sudha Bharadwaj in the case. Bharadwaj was granted bail as the charge sheet could not be filed against her in the stipulated time.

The court held there was no error in its December order as the relevant documents were not placed before it during the course of the hearing on the default bail applications.

Bharadwaj last year moved the high court challenging a Pune court’s rejection of her default bail in 2019. She said since the investigating agency had not filed the charge sheet within the stipulated time, she was entitled to default bail. But the Pune court rejected the argument.

Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rao, Gonsalves, and Ferreira approached the high court on similar grounds.

Rao, Gonsalves, and Ferreira argued the Pune court order, which became the basis for Bharadwaj’s default bail, was a common order as their applications were included in it as well.

In December, the high court allowed Bharadwaj’s plea, but rejected the plea of the others, saying Rao, Gonsalves, and Ferriera’s applications were not filed within the stipulated time before the charge sheet was filed against them.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed the review plea saying the submissions made for it were not part of their previous application challenging the Pune court order. Advocate Sandesh Patil, who appeared for NIA, submitted an affidavit saying the review was barred by law as it sought alteration in the final high court judgment.

The affidavit said as per procedure, a final judgement or order can only be reviewed for correcting clerical or arithmetical errors and not for altering or reviewing it comprehensively.

NIA said the high court passed the judgment after due verification of records and hence the prayers of the accused could not be granted and they should have approached the Supreme Court.

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