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Defying HC Order of House Arrest, Police Drag Activist Sudha Bharadwaj to Faridabad Court

Bharadwaj’s lawyer Vrinda Grover claimed that she was not being allowed inside the CJM’s residence while the police was making its case.

Updated:August 29, 2018, 12:03 AM IST
Defying HC Order of House Arrest, Police Drag Activist Sudha Bharadwaj to Faridabad Court
Human rights advocate Sudha Bharadwaj (L) after she was arrested by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence in Faridabad on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Activist Sudha Bharadwaj was produced before the chief judicial magistrate of Faridabad by Maharashtra police late on Tuesday night despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court cancelling her transit remand and ordering officials to detain her at her Badarpur home for the next two days.

Bharadwaj’s lawyer Vrinda Grover claimed that she was not being allowed inside the CJM’s residence while the police was making its case. It was not clear what directions police was seeking from the court at the time of filing this report.

Pune Police Joint Commissioner Shivaji Bodakhe said: “We have to see the High Court order. Unless the police receives it [routed through the chief judicial magistrate of Faridabad] and reads it thoroughly, she will be in police custody.”

Earlier, Grover had said that the activist was taken to an unknown location by Maharashtra Police after her arrest despite the HC order. Bhardwaj was arrested for her alleged links to Maoists as part of a nationwide crackdown in which five right activists, lawyers and writers were arrested and residences of four more were raided.

Grover shared with News18 a screenshot of her message to one Inspector Shinde, who she said was involved in making the arrest earlier in the day.

In the message, Grover said she had communicated the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order regarding Sudha Bharadwaj via Whatsapp, SMS and orally over teleconference, yet she has been informed that she was not being taken to her Badarpur residence.

“I have again reiterated to you that this would be in brazen breach of the HC order. Despite my repeatedly inquiring from you about the whereabouts of my client Sudha Bharadwaj, you have refused to inform me where she is being taken, except to say that she is in another car, not in your supervision. You are, as a police officer, required to follow the HC order,” the message read.

The Punjab and Haryana HC had stayed the transit remand of the activist, who was arrested from Faridabad and booked under IPC Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan heard the habeas corpus writ petition, advocate Ankit Agarwal said.

"It is directed that in case the detenue is produced before the Ilaqa Magistrate/Duty Magistrate/Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridabad, the orders granting transit remand will be passed after going through the contents of the FIR and recording a finding that the provision of Sections 41 and 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code have been compiled with," the high court said.

"Till then, the detenue, Sudha Bhardwaj, shall be kept at the place, that is her home at Badarpur in Haryana, from where she was arrested under the supervision of Police Station Surajkund," it said.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for August 30, Agarwal said.

The counsels representing Bhardwaj pleaded that her client was a human rights activist and was taken into custody by the Maharashtra Police, and was taken from her home at Badarpur border in Faridabad.

"Certain documents were given to the detenue, which are in Marathi language, that is not known to the detenue or even her counsel," Agarwal said.

It was also argued that on the basis of the same set of allegations involving activist Gautam Navalakha's arrest, the Delhi High Court ordered the police not to take him out of the national capital at least until Wednesday.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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