Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay HC denies bail to the three accused

The Court rejected a review application seeking bail and factual corrections in the order refusing the accused default bail

bhima koregaon

On May 4, 2022, the Bombay High Court rejected a review petition filed by Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira seeking default bail and factual corrections in the order, refusing bail and subsequently release. They have all been accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case. While Varavara is out on medical bail, the other two petitioners are in jail.

A division bench led by Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar disposed of the review application today after reserving it for orders on March 22, 2022. Today, the bench pronounced, “No case for exercise of review jurisdiction is made out. A point which was not urged is impermissible to be reviewed,” reported LiveLaw.

On December 1, 2021, a bench led by Justice Shinde had granted default bail to a co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj while denying the bail to eight other accused in the case namely, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling and Varavara Rao, on account of not filing their pleas before the lower court within the time stipulated by law unlike Sudha Bharadwaj. However, three of the eight accused challenged the said order claiming that there was a factual error as they had applied for default bail on November 20,2018, just a few days following Bharadwaj’s application but the Court failed to note that the lower court had rejected the default bail pleas filed by them including Bharadwaj and two other co-accused through a common order, reported NDTV.  Therefore, they claimed that they were entitled to the same relief granted to Bharadwaj.

According to LiveLaw, the bench asked them to point out if this was brought to the court’s notice when their applications were being heard.

Seeking factual corrections in the order, the accused said in their review application, “If such power of correcting its own record is denied to the High Court, when it notices the apparent errors, its consequence is that the superior status of the High Court will dwindle down. Therefore, it is only proper to think that the plenary powers of the High Court would include the power of review relating to errors apparent on the face of the record,” reported LiveLaw.

However, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed the said application by reportedly citing the embargo on a bench under Section 362 of CrPC to alter or review judgements once a petition is decided on merits.

Advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for NIA, said that the accused directly wanted the final observation altered which was made final after due verification of record and they argued that the accused should have appealed to the Supreme Court instead of approaching the High Court, reported LiveLaw.

The NIA has reportedly submitted a list of seventeen draft (proposed) charges against the 15 accused, including the serious charge of waging a war against the country, which is punishable with death or imprisonment for life (section 121 of the Indian Penal Code) before the court. The 15 accused are- Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Hany Babu, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Sagar Gorkhe.

The NIA charges claim that the accused persons are members of a banned organisation, CPI (Maoists), whose main objective is to establish a Janta Sarkar i.e., people’s Government via a revolution supported by a commitment to protracted armed struggle to undermine and to seize power from the State.


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