"Leftist Ecosystem Still Exists:" JNU Vice-Chancellor Questions Supreme Court's Equanimity, Citing Teesta Setalvad's Bail Case

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The VC was speaking at the launch of a Marathi book ‘Jagala Pokharnari Davi Walvi’ (World-weakening Leftist Termites) in Pune

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice-Chancellor, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, recently raised concerns about equal treatment by the Supreme Court during a book launch event in Pune.

She referred to the speedy relief granted to Teesta Setalvad by the Chief Justice on a Saturday night and questioned whether similar expediency would be afforded to others. 

“The Leftist ecosystem still exists. You know, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court opened the court on a Saturday night to give Teesta Setalvad bail. Will it happen for us", she said, as per reports.

The event marked the launch of a book titled "Jagala Pokharnari Dawi Valvi" (translated as World-weakening Leftist Termites) authored by Abhijit Jog at Pune's Symbiosis International University.

Pandit is the first woman to hold the position of JNU Vice-Chancellor, having been appointed in February 2022 after serving as a Professor of Political Science at Savitribai Phule Pune University.

Teesta Setalvad is accused of fabrication of evidence in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases. Immediately after Gujarat High Court, on July 1, 2023, rejected her plea for regular bail in the matter, she rushed to the top court.

The high court had ordered Setalvad to surrender immediately as she was on interim bail as allowed by the Supreme Court in September 2022.

Acceding to her request, the top court set up the bench to conduct a special hearing at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday. The matter was placed before a division bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Prashant Kumar Mishra. 

Appearing for the Gujarat government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the plea for grant of any relief to her. He said that Teesta did not deserve even interim bail as she had forged documents, tutored witnesses and influenced the justice delivery system to make sensational allegations against the state government. He also termed her an "extraordinary citizen" and urged the court to follow the usual procedure for bail applications.

However, after the brief hearing, the division bench differed on the issue of grant of protection to Setalvad. The bench then sent the matter to the Chief Justice of India for taking an administrative decision to constitute a larger bench.

The matter was then placed before a larger bench at 9:15 p.m., the same night. The special three-judge bench then stayed the Gujarat High Court's order denying bail to Setalvad and granted one week's interim relief to her.

Thereafter, Teesta Setalvad secured bail on July 19, 2023. 

During her speech at the book launch event, JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit also addressed the broader issue of narrative power in politics.

She emphasized that to retain political influence, narrative power is crucial, and it must be acquired to avoid becoming a directionless entity.