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Stan Swamy challenges validity of Section 43D(5) of UAPA in Bombay HC

Stan Swamy challenges validity of Section 43D(5) of UAPA in Bombay HC

Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy has moved the Bombay High Court challenging Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, reported Bar and Bench on Saturday. The section bars granting of bail to an accused if the court finds that the accusations are prima facie true.

Swamy was arrested on October 8 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case by the National Investigation Agency from Ranchi and brought to Mumbai. He has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and anti-terror law UAPA for allegedly furthering the cause of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations he worked with.

He is currently undergoing treatment at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai.

In his petition, the 84-year-old activist said that the section creates an “unsurmountable hurdle” for an accused to get bail under UAPA, making it violative of Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

“Presumption of innocence is a fundamental tenet of our criminal jurisprudence and is a human right,” the plea states, according to Leaflet. “In any event, when such harsh conditions are imposed in respect of grant of bail even before the trial is conducted, the same inverts on its head the presumption of innocence.”

In his bail plea in March, Swamy had said that he was being targeted by the NIA because of his writings and work related to caste and land struggles of the people.

The NIA, however, has claimed that it has sufficient evidence to prima facie prove that Swamy was involved in the conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018.

Several activists and academics have been accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.

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