A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Saturday stayed a Gujarat High Court order denying regular bail to Teesta Setalvad in a case of alleged forgery and fabrication of evidence related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, Live Law reported.

Earlier on Saturday, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Abhay S Oka and Prashant Kumar Mishra had differed on whether to grant interim protection to Setalvad. Subsequently, the case was referred to a larger bench.

In a special late-night hearing, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice BR Gavai stayed the High Court order for a week. It noted that when the Supreme Court had granted the activist interim bail on September 2, it had noted that she was entitled to special protection as a woman under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

“We find that, taking into consideration this fact, the learned single judge ought to have granted at least some protection so that the petitioner has sufficient time to challenge the order… before this court,” the court said.

Justice Gavai orally asked what the urgency was in taking Setalvad into custody, The Indian Express reported. “Will the skies fall if interim protection is granted for some days?” he asked. “What is the alarming urgency?”

The Supreme Court, however, said that it was not making any comment on the merits of the case.

Setalvad, along with former state Director General of Police RB Sreekumar and former Indian Police Service officer Sanjiv Bhatt, has been accused of fabricating evidence about the 2002 Gujarat riots with the objective to destabilise the state government.

More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the riots. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat at the time.

Justice Nirzar Desai of the High Court on Saturday claimed that Setalvad had made attempts to unsettle a democratically elected government and tarnish the image of Modi.

Justice Desai said that the activist helped riot victims with the intention to gain personal and political benefits by collecting huge funds and projecting herself as a social leader. She ultimately became a member of the Planning Commission, the court added.