Arun Ferreira, one of the accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has sought default bail on parity with co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj in the case. Bhardwaj was granted default bail by the Bombay High Court on December 1, 2021.
On Friday, Ferreira’s petition came up for hearing before a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh. However, Justice Dere recused herself from hearing the plea without assigning any reason.
His bail plea will now be listed for hearing before another bench of HC.
In his bail plea, filed through advocate Satyanarayanan R, Ferreira has said that his case stands on par with that of Bharadwaj. “The only distinguishing factor is that while the applicant (Ferreira) filed the default bail application (in the lower court) on the 94th day, co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj filed it on the 91st day,” read his plea.
In Bhardwaj’s case, the HC had said that the Pune sessions court did not have the jurisdiction to grant extension of time to Pune police to file the chargesheet after the expiry of 90 days.
Ferreira’s plea read: “The benefits of this finding needs to be extended to this applicant (Ferreira) as well. Thus, if the special court order is held to be without jurisdiction, then the benefit accorded to Sudha Bharadwaj ought to be extended to the present applicant too.”
The HC, in December last year, had rejected bail petitions of eight other accused saying that they had not filed bail pleas before the Pune court on time. It had observed that while Bharadwaj had filed a plea before the Pune court seeking default bail as soon as the 90 days period for filing the chargesheet ended, these eight accused had delayed filing their applications.
Ferreira was arrested in August 2018 under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for waging war against the nation, being a member of a banned terror outfit CPI (Maoist) and propagating Maoist ideology.
Ferreira and eight others had filed common bail plea in June 2019 before the special court in Pune on the ground that the special court in Pune did not have the jurisdiction to take cognisance of the chargesheet filed by the Pune police, which was initially probing the case.
The bail pleas was rejected by special court in September 2019 following which they approached the HC.
The HC too rejected their bail applications against which they filed a review petition. That too was rejected by HC.
Following this, Ferreira filed a petition seeking default bail.