The Bombay High Court has asked for the assistance of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for deciding whether the Court should allow Surendra Gadling, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, to argue his default bail application by appearing in person before the High Court.
A division bench of Justice AS Gadkari and PD Naik have asked the NIA counsel, Sandesh Patil for finding from the investigation officer if Gadling could be permitted to appear in person.
Gadling had filed his plea for default bail from prison, through a legal aid lawyer, advocate Yashodeep Deshmukh.
After the plea was filed, the Court received a letter from Gadling requesting that he be permitted to appear in person to argue his case.
In his letter, Gadling wrote that since the chargesheet was voluminous, running into around 30,000 pages, it would be difficult to brief the lawyer about the case.
He added that the time for meetings in prison was about 20 minutes and that it would be difficult to brief the lawyer on the case in such a short period.
After examining the letter, the Court noted that Gadling had been “a practicing lawyer, with years of experience in various branches of law”.
The Court also observed that Gadling had not objected to Deshmukh’s appointment as his legal aid counsel.
The Court, however, deemed it fit to first seek the NIA’s response in the matter before passing any order.
“It shouldn’t happen that there should be any blame later,” the Court clarified.
NIA counsel, Patil, informed the Court that Gadling had been arguing in person before the special NIA court. He also said that Gadling had never appeared in person before the High Court.
He added that this was not a regular bail but only default bail, where the lawyer was expected to show a couple of dates.
Justice Naik said that since this is a case of default bail, we need not go into the merits of the case. We need not go into the chargesheet also.”
The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on March 23.