The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the bail plea of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the main accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast, in which six people were killed and over 100 injured.
Dismissing her plea, the bench of Justice J.M.Panchal and Justice H.L.Gokhale said: ‘Having regard to the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, this court is of the opinion that question of violation of Article 22(2) does not arise.’
Sadhvi Pragya had challenged the Bombay High court order of March 12, 2010 rejecting her plea for bail, contending that her arrest violated the mandate of Article 22(1) and 22(2) of the constitution and also on the ground that no charge sheet was filed within 90 days as contemplated by Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
According to Article 22(2): ‘Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twentyfour hours of such arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.’
Sadhvi Pragya contended that she was arrested by the Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Surat on Oct 10, 2008, but was brought before the magistrate Oct 24, and thus was in illegal detention for 14 days and this was in violation of Article 22(2).
Speaking for the bench, Justice Panchal said: ‘Factually this plea has not been found to be correct. The appellant was, in fact, arrested only on Oct 23, 2008.’
The judgment said that careful perusal of the affidavit filed by her on Nov 17, 2008, ‘shows that the appellant was not arrested on Oct 10, 2008. Prayer in the said application did not ask for being set at liberty at all and only asked for an enquiry’.
Having noted this, the judgment said the finding recorded by both the trial court and the high court is that the appellant could not make out a case of her arrest on Oct 10, 2008.
The judgment also found no substance in Sadhvi Pragya’s allegation of torture or ill-treatment.
The court said that perusal of Nov 17, 2008, affidavit shows that this allegation of ill-treatment is ‘not believable’.