The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, who is among those accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, Live Law reported.

Sen has been in jail for over five-and-a-half years.

On March 15, a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih questioned the National Investigation Agency regarding the continued detention of Sen. Following this, the agency told the court that it did not need her custody anymore.

Hearing the case on Friday, the same bench said: “We have seen she is of advanced age and the effect of delaying trial at this stage…in addition to her medical conditions. She should not be denied the privilege of being released on bail.”

The court, however, told Sen not to leave Maharashtra and to surrender her passport, if she has one, with the special court while she is out on bail. She is also required to keep the Global Positioning System, or GPS, feature active on her mobile phone and keep it paired with the device of the investigating officer so that her location is known.

Sen is among 16 academicians, activists and lawyers who were charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for their alleged role in instigating caste violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January 2018. She has been in jail since June 6, 2018.

She is the sixth accused in the case to get bail. Sudha Bhardwaj got default bail in 2021. Anand Teltumbe received bail in 2022. Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds in 2022. Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira got bail in 2023.

Under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, an accused person can only be placed in custody up to a particular time. After this period, they have to be given bail if the police do not file a chargesheet. Bail under this section is referred to as default bail or compulsory bail.

Another accused person, Gautam Navlakha, was in 2022 shifted to house arrest by the Supreme Court due to medical reasons. The Bombay High Court had granted bail to Navlakha and Mahesh Raut. However, the same court has also stayed its orders. The stay orders were also extended by the Supreme Court.

One of the accused persons, Stan Swamy, died at a Mumbai hospital while in police custody on July 5, 2021.