The Supreme Court of India today granted four days time to Bimal Gurung and Roshan Giri to file for an anticipatory bail in Calcutta High Court. Deposing of the Roshan Giri vs Union of India and Others case, where in Roshan Giri, and Bimal Gurung has sought a blanket immunity to enable them to participate in the electoral process.
Representing Roshan Giri and Bimal Gurung, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi had highlighted how fabricated cases had been slapped against the duo and other Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders during the 2017 Gorkhaland agitation period. He had requested the court to grant immunity against arrest so that the duo and other GJM leaders could participate in canvassing during the elections. Opposing the request, senior advocate Kapil Sibbal argued that the FIRs cannot be brushed away. He asked for the court to quash the case.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court however ordered that the petitioners – Bimal and Roshan can seek anticipatory bail from Calcutta High Court. The Supreme Court also instructed Calcutta High Court not to refer the matter to session courts where the cases have been filed, and instead instructed Calcutta HC to expedite hearing into the case and pass interim order as it sees fit, provided the petitioners file the appeal within the next four days.
Here is the full order
Shri Mukul Rohatgi, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner, presses for interim relief submitting that because of the numerous FIRs lodged against Shri Bimal Gurung and Shri Roshan Giri, they are effectively being prevented from participating in the forthcoming general elections. The FIRs are but political vendetta and harassment. Interim protection may therefore be granted to facilitate participation in the election process by grant of reasonable time to move the appropriate court for grant of anticipatory bail in accordance with law.
Shri Kapil Sibal, learned senior counsel appearing for the respondent(s), submitted that the FIRs are serious and cannot be brushed away in the manner suggested. More than sufficient time was available to avail remedies before the competent court in accordance with law for the interim relief being sought presently. No anticipatory bail can be granted under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
Having heard the parties, the prayer for interim relief, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, is disposed of with liberty to approach the High Court for grant of anticipatory bail in accordance with law. We request the High Court not to go into the issue of maintainability by relegating to the different Sessions Courts in whose jurisdiction the FIRs are lodged. If such applications for anticipatory bail are filed within four days from today, it is expected that the High Court shall take them up expeditiously and dispose them in accordance with law without delay including grant of ad-interim orders to its satisfaction. We make it clear that we have expressed no opinion on the merits of the matter.
The prayer for interim relief stands disposed of.
Interim order granted by this Court on 10.12.2018 shall continue to operate until further orders.
No Coercive Action
Of particular interest here is the Interim order granted by Supreme Court on 10.12.2018, which the SC has said shall continue to operate until further orders.
On December 10, 2018 the Honourable Supreme Court has ordered, among other things, “… let the status quo be maintained with respect to the offenses which are covered by the NIA Act, 2008. No coercive action be taken till the next date of hearing.”
Bimal Gurung and his supporters have said following the SC order they will be coming back to Darjeeling. Will the West Bengal Govt respect SC order of “No coercive action” till then or not will be made evident tomorrow [April 4th 2019]