The SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is Significant – Various Statements

The SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is Significant – Various Statements

Gonsalves and Ferreira bail judgment: A step in the right direction but where will we go from here?


The Leaflet / by Sarah Thanawala

The recent Supreme Court judgment granting bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira after five years of incarceration without trial reiterates several established principles of law for the protection of individual liberty and overturns the infirmities in Zahoor Ahmad Watali and Arup Bhuyan (2023), but will it have a ripple effect on the cases of the more than four lakh undertails incarcerated in Indian prisons?
… the bail judgment holds that the letters recovered from the other co-accused persons, witness statements, or the mere possession of literature propagating violence or promoting the overthrow of democratically elected government, does not prove that the two accused were involved in terrorist acts within the definition of the UAPA.
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Why the SC Judgment Granting Bail to Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira Is So Significant


The Wire / by Mihir Desai

The judgment has substantial implications not just for the others still in jail in the Elgar Parishad case but also for the bail jurisprudence in UAPA cases.
The restrictive bail provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been widely used to deny personal liberty to activists, students, journalists and others.
… It is in this context that the July 28 bail judgment of the Supreme Court in Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira’s case needs to be seen. Undoubtedly for the two of them, who have been in jail for nearly five years, it has immense significance. But what should not be lost sight of is that the judgment also has substantial implications not just for the others still in jail in the Elgar Parishad case but also for the bail jurisprudence in UAPA cases.
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Not Thwarted by Watali: Why Bail for Vernon Gonsalves & Arun Ferreira Matters


The Quint / by Mekahala Saran

The Supreme Court judgment flatly refuses to accept the prosecution’s submissions without its own analysis.
In the days that followed Father Stan Swamy’s demise in 2021, the Bombay High Court is believed to have noted that he was “a wonderful person”. The eighty-four year old, a UAPA accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, was awaiting bail at the time of his death.
… So, when his co-accused Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were finally granted bail, with the apex court shredding the prosecution’s case for their continued incarceration, Fr Stan Swamy’s friend Fr Joseph Xavier told The Quint that Fr Swamy would have been “very happy and proud to hear of this”, had he been alive.
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On merits: On the Bhima Koregaon violence case


The Hindu / Editorial

Following the Supreme Court bail order, the Bhima Koregaon case needs a re-look.
The Supreme Court order granting bail to activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira demonstrates how even under a stringent anti-terrorism law, denial of bail need not be the norm, and a preliminary assessment can lay bare the weaknesses of a police case. It is difficult for someone arrested under serious provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to get bail.
… This is the first time in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, in which activists and lawyers were arrested in 2018 on the charge of being part of a Maoist conspiracy, a court has recorded a finding that the accusations may not be true.
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Indian Church leaders welcome grant of bail to activists


UCA News / by Michael Gonsalves

Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves with Father Stan Swamy and others were accused of plotting to overthrow government
Church leaders and rights activists have hailed the bail granted by India’s top court to co-accused of the late Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy, booked under a terror-related law.
India’s Supreme Court granting bail to lawyer Arun Ferreira and trade unionist Vernon Gonsalves “is indeed a significant move,” Father Nicholas Barla, secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Tribal Affairs, told UCA News.
It will boost the morale of the other “activists working for the rights of tribal people, forest-dwellers, and Dalits (former untouchables),” he said.
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What Next after the Vernon Gonsalves Judgment


The Proof of Guilt / by by Abhinav Sekhri

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court has allowed appeals filed by Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira [Reported as Vernon v. State of Maharashtra, Crl. Appeal No. 639 / 2023 (Decided on 28.07.2023) (“Vernon”)] which challenged the dismissal of their bail applications by the Bombay High Court, and has directed that they must be released on bail. The judgment comes almost five years after their arrests, and has been welcomed as a ray of light in what is possibly one of the darkest corners of present Indian jurisprudence — grant of bail in cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 (“UAPA”). I need not elaborate the reasons for this praise for Vernon here, all of which is merited, as these have been comprehensively discussed on the ICLP Blog. Instead, I wish to flag the challenges ahead that must be resolved to make sure that the judgment in Vernon is not reduced to a forgotten relic by the sands of time.
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Recovering the Basics: The Supreme Court’s Bail Order in Vernon Gonsalves’ Case


Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy / by Gautam Bhatia

Over the last decade, the bail provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act [“UAPA”] have been one of the most significant sites of constitutional struggles for personal liberty and State impunity (see  and ). A number of convergent factors (as discussed by Abhinav Sekhri in ) are responsible for this: the UAPA’s broadly-worded provisions (e.g. “membership” of terrorist gangs) lowers the threshold for initial arrest and custody, and the pace of the trial process means that years will pass before a final determination of guilt or innocence. In that context, bail is the only remedy that stands between an individual and a decade in jail without trial.
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‘Brings Hope, But…’ Bhima Koregaon Families React to Gonsalves, Ferreira Bail


The Quint / by Fatima Khan & Mekhala Saran

The Supreme Court has granted bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Even as the Supreme Court granted bail on Friday, 28 July, to two accused in the Elgar Parishad case, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, the families of the other accused in the same case said that the verdict inspired some hope “but should not be celebrated too much.” Moreover, some even questioned the “insensitive bail conditions.”
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Also read:
Why the Bombay High Court granted regular bail to Dr. Anand Teltumbde: An explainer (The Leaflet / Dec 2022)
A Professor’s Supreme Court Bail Hearing Is A Bellwether Case For Govt’s Use of India’s Anti-Terror Law (article14 / Nov 2022)

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