Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested in connection with Bhima Koregaon case last October
Image Courtesy: Live Law
Noted human rights activist, Sudha Bharadwaj has been granted temporary bail by the Bombay High Court from August 17 to August 20 to be able to attend her father Ranganath Bharadwaj’s last rites. Her father passed away on August 7. Sudha has been languishing in a Pune jail since October last year. She will be taken to Bangalore.
The Maharashtra police raided and arrested several prominent human rights activists in India on August 28 on the pretext of their alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon case. Following this, a writ petition was filed in the SC by eminent Indians such as historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain among others. The SC disposed off the writ petition saying that the activists could avail relief from lower courts as per the law. All five activists-lawyers were under house arrest for a time period until October 26, a time period extended by the Supreme Court allowing them time to seek bail or other remedies in appropriate courts. Within minutes of the Pune court rejecting bail pleas of Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj, Adv. Arun Ferreira and activist Vernon Gonsalves, while Ferreira and Gonsalves were arrested immediately, Bhardwaj was arrested two days later.
Sudha Bharadwaj, born in 1961, has been associated with the trade union movement in Chhattisgarh for more than 25 years. She was the general secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and a member of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).
After living and working in Bilaspur for several years, Sudha had moved to Delhi recently and was teaching at National Law University Delhi as a visiting Professor, where she taught a seminar course on tribal rights and land acquisition, and a part of the regular course on law and poverty. As part of the programme of the Delhi Judicial Academy, she addressed the presiding officers of labour courts from Sri Lanka. Shock gripped parts of the country when this relentless defender of human rights was first faced with sudden raids and later arrested.
In March 2019, Sudha Bharadwaj was honoured by Harvard Law School. She is among 21 women honoured by the Harvard Law School this year through a portrait exhibition on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Bharadwaj was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case in August and is currently in a prison in Pune.