Calling its previous order a “mistake,” the Supreme Court on Monday refused to extend interim bail to activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in connection with an embezzlement case, and said that only a larger bench should consider their plea.
A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel left it for a three-judge bench to take a call on whether the interim protection from arrest has to be accorded to the couple in the case of alleged embezzlement of funds meant for constructing a museum in the memory of 2002 Gujarat riot victims. The court turned down a plea by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who recalled that the same two-judge bench had on September 11 extended their interim bail till October 15.
Appearing for Teesta and Javed, Sibal questioned why the same order cannot be passed now, to which the bench shot back: “Earlier, it was a mistake.”
“That order should not have been passed. Once the matter has been referred to a three-judge bench, that order should not have been passed,” it added.
When Sibal said the period of bail would expire Thursday and hence the court should pass an order considering the urgency of the case, the bench shot down his argument, saying only a larger bench should now consider such requests.
“List the matter before an appropriate bench as soon as possible, in view of the fact that this matter is to be heard by a three-judge Bench and ad-interim relief granted by this court on 11th September, 2015 will continue only till 15th October, 2015,” the order stated.
Setalvad and her husband have challenged the Gujarat High Court order denying them anticipatory bail. The High Court order was stayed by the apex court, which now awaits a hearing by a three-judge bench. The apex court had on April 16 constituted a three-judge bench to hear afresh the anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and her husband as a two-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Goel referred the issue to a larger bench.