The Supreme Court of India has postponed the hearing of a plea filed by Jyoti Jagtap, one of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, for a period of four weeks. Jagtap is facing charges under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and her plea challenges a Bombay High Court order that denied her bail last year.
A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi granted this extension after advocate Aparna Bhat, representing Jagtap, requested more time to prepare a response to the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) affidavit. The court allowed Bhat three weeks to file this response.
The Supreme Court had earlier sought responses from both the Maharashtra government and the NIA on Jagtap’s plea against the High Court’s order on May 4, 2023.
Jyoti Jagtap, aged 32, is a member of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a cultural group alleged to have links with the banned CPI (Maoist). She was arrested by the NIA in September 2020. According to the NIA, Jagtap and her associates organized the Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017, which subsequently led to violence.
Jagtap has moved the apex court challenging the High Court’s decision on October 17, 2022, which had denied her bail. The High Court had stated that the NIA’s case against Jagtap appeared to be “prima facie true” and that she was involved in a “larger conspiracy” orchestrated by the outlawed outfit CPI (Maoist).
Furthermore, the High Court asserted that Jagtap was an active member of KKM and that during a stage play at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave on December 31, 2017, in Pune, she and her fellow KKM members had used not only “aggressive but highly provocative slogans.”
Jyoti Jagtap, who stands accused of singing and raising provocative slogans during the conclave along with other KKM members, has been in custody since her arrest in September 2020. She has been detained at the Byculla women’s prison in Mumbai.
The adjournment of the Supreme Court hearing adds another chapter to the legal battle surrounding the Bhima Koregaon case, a case that has garnered significant attention and raised questions about civil liberties and the use of anti-terror laws in India.
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