The Supreme Court on Friday granted anticipatory bail to Congress leader Hardik Patel till March 6 in a sedition case filed against him in connection with the violence during the Patidar reservation protests in 2015, PTI reported. Patel had filed a plea seeking the quashing of the case against him.
“The case was lodged in 2015 and the investigation is still pending in the matter,” a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran to the counsel for the Gujarat government. “You can’t sit on the case for past five years.”
The bench issued a notice to the Gujarat government on Patel’s plea. The Gujarat High Court had rejected the anticipatory bail plea after the state government objected to it on grounds that the Congress leader had more than 10 criminal cases against him.
In his anticipatory bail plea before the High Court, Patel had claimed he was being “victimised” by the ruling party, which he said had slapped “several false, frivolous and concocted cases against him”.
Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation, was charged with sedition and unlawful assembly after violence broke out during a rally of the community in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015. Patel’s outfit, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, had demanded Other Backward Class status and 27% reservation in government jobs and education for the Patidar community.
On February 10, Patel’s wife Kinjal Patel had claimed that her husband had been untraceable since he was arrested in the sedition case.
Five days after the arrest, Patel was granted bail in the sedition case, but was arrested immediately after he walked out of Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad in another case – for allegedly addressing a political rally in 2017 without permission