Temporary relief to Teesta Setalvad from SC
New Delhi: Activist Teesta Setalvad on Monday got temporary relief in a case of fund embezzlement with the Supreme Court extending the interim protection from arrest and transit anticipatory bail from May 2 to May 31, granted to her and her husband by the Bombay High Court.
The apex court, which granted them relief on the condition that they would have to move the competent court in Gujarat for anticipatory bail, was clear that the Bombay High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain their plea as the FIR was registered by the Gujarat police.
"Since the FIR is in Gujarat, the competent court will be in Gujarat," a bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, M M Shantanagoudar and Navin Sinha said.
The bench said Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand will not be arrested till May 31 but before that they would have to approach for the competent court in Gujarat which will decide the matter on merits.
"We direct the respondents (Setalvad and Javed Anand) to seek appropriate remedy from the competent court in Gujarat before May 31. The interim bail granted by Bombay High Court shall extend till May 31," the bench said.
The bench made it clear that it was confining the issue in the case only for dealing with the transit anticipatory bail granted by the Bombay High Court and all other aspects of the order has to be vacated, as "the Bombay High Court has no jurisdiction on it".
The Ahmedabad police had moved the apex court against the April 5 order of the Bombay High Court by which the couple were protected from arrest till May 2 in an FIR registered on March 31 for allegedly securing central government funds worth Rs 1.4 crore "fraudulently" for her NGO Sabrang between 2010 and 2013.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, said the Bombay High Court had passed a blatantly illegal order and transit anticipatory bail should not have been granted.
Senior advocate CU Singh, appearing for Teesta and her husband, said the high court was right in granting transit bail as the alleged offence pertains to an educational project in Maharashtra. He said in
this case, the HC had the jurisdiction to issue the transitory bail.
However, the bench observed it was a settled law that the jurisdiction lies with the concerned court of the state where the FIR is lodged and "the transit bail is granted for making a person to appear before the competent court".