Ex Nagpur University Professor Shoma Sen Gets Bail In Elgar Parishad Case

The investigation into this case has implicated several activists and academicians.

New Delhi:

Former Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, in jail since her arrest in 2018 under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, was granted bail by the Supreme Court today. A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih announced the verdict considering various factors including Ms Sen’s age, health conditions, prolonged detention, delayed trial commencement, and the nature of the allegations against her.

The bench clarified that the restrictions outlined in Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, which typically make bail difficult, would not apply in Ms Sen’s case. Recognising her advanced age, 66, and health concerns, the court imposed several conditions for her release.

According to the court’s directives, Ms Sen must report to the station house officer within the jurisdiction where she resides once every fortnight or 14 days. Additionally, she is not permitted to leave Maharashtra without a special court’s approval and must surrender her passport. Ms Sen is also obligated to inform the anti-terror agency NIA about her place of residence and keep her mobile phone on with a charged battery, ensuring that her GPS remains active and linked to the NIA officer’s phone for location tracking purposes.

The Supreme Court said that any breach of these conditions would warrant a cancellation of her bail, but such requests must be made before the Special Court, referencing the Supreme Court’s order.

Ms Sen was arrested on June 6, 2018 for her alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, particularly her alleged links with CPI (Maoist). The incident resulted in her detention under the UAPA, a law designed to combat unlawful activities deemed a threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity.

The case against Ms Sen and several others revolves around speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave held on December 31, 2017 at Pune’s Shaniwarwada. Authorities claim that these speeches incited violence near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the following day, with allegations of Maoist support.

The investigation into this case, which has implicated several activists and academicians, was transferred to the NIA from the Pune Police.

Ms Sen is sixth among 16 defendants in the case to secure bail. Sudha Bharadwaj secured default bail in 2021, while Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira were granted bail in 2022 and 2023. Varavara Rao secured bail due to medical reasons, whereas Gautam Navlakha was given house arrest owing to health concerns by the Supreme Court. 

The Bombay High Court granted bail to Navlakha and Mahesh Raut, but these rulings were put on hold by the same court and later upheld by the Supreme Court. Father Stan Swamy, another defendant, died while in custody in July 2021.


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