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Justice Sadhana Jadhav Of Bombay High Court, The Third Judge To Recuse From Hearing Petitions In Bhima Koregaon Case This Year

Sharmeen Hakim
19 April 2022 7:32 AM GMT
Justice Sadhana Jadhav Of Bombay High Court, The Third Judge To Recuse From Hearing Petitions In Bhima Koregaon Case This Year
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A third judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice Sadhana Jadhav, recused from hearing a clutch of petitions in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad case this year, including two petitions alleging the planting of electronic evidence through malware. Justice Jadhav said no Elgar Parishad matters to be placed before her. the judge had earlier recused from hearing BK matters in 2019 and...

A third judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice Sadhana Jadhav, recused from hearing a clutch of petitions in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad case this year, including two petitions alleging the planting of electronic evidence through malware.

Justice Jadhav said no Elgar Parishad matters to be placed before her. the judge had earlier recused from hearing BK matters in 2019 and 2020, as well. 

The defence will now reapproach the Chief Justice Dipankar Datta to assign these matters to another bench.

In all five judges have recused from hearing petitions related to this case. 

In 2019 and 2020, Justices Jadhav, Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Nitin Sambre recused.  

For over a year, till 2021, the bench led by Justice SS Shinde was hearing all Elgar Parishad petitions. However, due to a change in assignment the cases were transferred to Justice Nitin Jamdar's bench followed by Justice PB Varale.

However, Justice Varale's bench recused from hearing matters related to this case last month, the alternate bench of Justice SS Shinde also recused from taking up petitions connected to the case, last month.

Nonetheless Justice Shinde, will hear the interim application filed by Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao seeking bail and factual corrections in his order refusing them default bail.

The Chief Justice then ordered transfer of the petitions to the bench led by Justice Sunil Shukre. However, since Justice Shukre has been transferred back to Bombay High Court's Nagpur bench, the petitions were listed before Justice Sadhana Jadhav's bench.

Before his transfer, Justice Shukre refused permanent medical bail to P Varavara Rao, a Telugu poet and accused in the case. The bench, however, extended his temporary bail for an additional period of three months. The court also decided a plea by accused Dalit scholar Prof Anand Teltumbde seeking to meet his mother after his brother's demise.

An appeal against rejection of his bail plea by the Special NIA court, and another writ petition challenging his prosecution under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are also pending.

Petitions filed by co-accused Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen against their prosecution under UAPA are also pending adjudication. Justice Shinde's bench had already begun hearing the matter last year after which there was a change in assignment.

Wilson has sought formation of a Special Investigation Team to inquire into the planting of fabricated documents on his computer over a course of around 22 months based on which the accused were arrested.

Background

The National Investigation Agency booked 16 civil liberties activists under sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120b r/w 34 of the IPC and sections 13,16,17,18,18-B,20,38,39 and 40 of the UAPA. Father Stan Swamy, the 16th accused to be arrested, passed away on July 5, before his bail hearing.

The NIA has accused them of a plot to overthrow the Government, being members of front organisations of the banned CPI(Maoists). However, the arrested activists claim that incriminating material was planted on accused advocate Surendra Gadling and co-accused researcher Rona Wilson's laptop, based on an independent forensic analysis by Arsenal Consulting.

They blamed the activists for furthering the CPI(Maoist) agenda and causing the caste violence at the Bhima Koregaon war memorial on January 1, 2018.

Apart from Sudha Bharadwaj and Rao, all the accused are still in prison.

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