The Supreme Court has constituted a three-judge bench to hear afresh the anticipatory bail plea of Teesta Setalvad and her husband in the case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 riots.
The apex court registry issued a notice listing the matter for hearing on April 21 before the three-judge bench. However, the names of the judges sitting in the bench will be known later.
The anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand would be heard afresh as a two-judge bench on March 19 had referred it to the larger bench and had extended its interim order protecting them against arrest till the larger bench takes up the matter.
A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel had said the larger bench will have to consider as to whether a person can be granted anticipatory bail when issues like liberty and fair and effective probe are to be decided simultaneously.
The couple has challenged the Gujarat High Court February 12 order denying them anticipatory bail.
Hours after the High Court verdict, they had rushed to the apex court which had stayed the order for a day and later on February 13, a bench of Justices S J Mukhopadhya (Since retired) and N V Ramana extended the interim order till February 19.
However, a controversy cropped up a day before the hearing, when the matter was referred to a new bench of Justices Misra and Goel as there was no reason assigned by the apex court registry for the change of the bench.
After reserving for a month, the bench headed by Justice Misra referred the matter to a larger bench by noting that the interim order of February 12, 13 and March 19 on the stay of High Court order would continue till the case is taken up.
The bench, as an interim measure, had directed on February 19 that Setalvad and her husband “shall not be arrested in connection with FIR, registered with DCP, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.”