The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Maharashtra government and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in response to a plea filed by activist Jyoti Jagtap. The plea challenges a Bombay High Court order declining her bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. The bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia has listed the case for the second week of July 2023.
Jagtap, an active member of the leftist group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), was arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. The case is related to an event that took place on December 31, 2017, in Pune, where Jagtap allegedly gave “aggressive and highly provocative slogans” during a play at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave.
The Bombay High Court had refused to grant bail to Jagtap in October 2022, stating that the NIA’s case against her was “prima facie true” and that she was part of a “larger conspiracy” hatched by the banned outfit CPI (Maoist).
Jagtap has moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Bombay High Court’s order. She has argued that the high court had ignored the fact that there was no evidence to suggest that she was involved in any violent activity or had any links with Maoist groups. Jagtap’s lawyers have also argued that she has been held in custody for an extended period of time without any charges being filed against her, which is a violation of her fundamental rights.
The Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case has been a controversial issue in Maharashtra, with many activists and academics being arrested in connection with the case. The case is related to the conclave held in Pune in December 2017, which was organized to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle. The event was marred by violence, and the police claimed that it was instigated by Maoist groups.
Many activists and academics have claimed that the case is politically motivated and that the arrests are a part of a larger crackdown on dissent in the country. The case has also been criticized for the prolonged detention of the accused without any charges being filed against them.
The Supreme Court’s decision to issue notices to the Maharashtra government and the NIA in response to Jagtap’s plea is likely to be seen as a positive development by those who have been critical of the case. It remains to be seen how the case will progress, but the Supreme Court’s intervention may bring some relief to Jagtap and others who have been arrested in connection with the case.