Stan Swamy challenged the constitutionality of Section 43D (5) in the Bombay High Court as an insurmountable condition for bail.

Stan Swamy, an octogenarian tribal rights activist from Ranchi who was charged in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon – Elgaar Parishad case, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging Section 43-D (5) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which imposes stringent bail conditions, as being in violation of Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.

“The presumption of innocence is a basic premise of our criminal law and a fundamental human right. In any case, when such stringent restrictions are imposed on the grant of bail even before the trial, the presumption of innocence is turned on its head,” the plea adds.

The petitioner argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in National Investigation Agency vs. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, when read together with Section 43-D (5), constitutes a de facto bar on granting bail to the accused under the UAPA.

Frontal organisations are always treated as having been prohibited when terrorist organisations are listed on the schedule without even being named or notified.

Swamy has also asked for a reversal of the trial court’s decision to deny his bail plea. At the moment, he is receiving treatment at Holy Family Hospital. His medical bail application will be heard by the high court next week.

Fr. Swamy has also questioned the use of “frontal groups” by authorities to overtly and arbitrarily oppose the bail application, as well as the violation of fundamental rights under Article 14 (equality before the law) and Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution.

On July 3, the case is anticipated to be heard. The Jesuit priest was transferred from Taloja Central Jail to a private hospital on May 29 after the Bombay High Court ordered it. On October 9, 2020, he was apprehended in Ranchi and charged under many provisions of the Indian Penal Code as well as the UAPA.

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