The Supreme Court today referred to a larger bench the petition filed by Teesta Setalvad and her husband seeking anticipatory bail 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, however, said that the interim order providing protection from arrest to Ms Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand shall be extended till the larger bench takes up the matter.
While referring the matter to a larger bench, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel said the matter in hand raises several issues pertaining to concept of liberty in view of the offences enumerated in the case.
The bench also said that among the issues that needed to be discussed included supremacy of law, value of liberty, concept of regulated liberty, anticipatory bail and issue of non-cooperation during investigation by the accused.
The two-judge bench had on February 19 reserved its order in the anticipatory bail plea of Ms Setalvad and her husband who had challenged the Gujarat High Court order denying them the relief.
The High Court in its February 12 judgement had observed that Ms Setalvad and her husband were not cooperating in the probe and that “they cannot be armoured with full-fledged anticipatory bail when applicants did not cooperate with the investigation”.
Hours after the High Court had denied them the bail, they had moved the apex court and the bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu had granted stay of the order and posted the matter for next day.