Court suspends Bombay High Court’s decision to acquit Saibaba, others, stays release

New Delhi, October 15 (PTI) Supreme Court on Saturday suspended the order of the Bombay High Court acquitting former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others in a case of alleged ties to Maoists, arguing that would lift them up. The merits and demerits of the cause were not considered at that time.

Saibaba, 52, physically disabled and fully dependent on a wheelchair, was incarcerated in Nagpur Central Prison for more than eight years after his arrest and will remain in prison for the time being as the Supreme Court has also suspended the release of the five inmates. . One of the culprits died.

The college of the Court of Cassation heard the case on a non-working day (Saturday). Judge MR Shah and Judge Bela M. Trivedi held that the crimes for which the defendants had been sentenced by the court were serious and contrary to the sovereignty and integrity of the country and that the Bombay High Court ruling was to be considered in detail, as the highest court did not consider the merits of the case, including the gravity of the charge against the convicts.

The Supreme Court rejected Saibaba’s request to release him from prison and put him under house arrest for physical incapacity and medical conditions.

The Maharashtra government had opposed the request, saying that today there was a new trend to ask for house arrest for “urban naxals”.

The court, however, allowed Saibaba to file a new probation application in the case.

The high court on Friday acquitted Saibaba and others in the case.

The court suspended the release of all defendants, including Saibaba in the case. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court ordered his release.

The Supreme Court issued notices to Saibaba and others regarding the Maharashtra government’s appeal against the High Court’s decision and asked them to submit their responses by December 8, suspending the release of all defendants in the prison case.

Suspending the October 14 order of the High Court, the panel stated: “The defendants were sentenced after a detailed examination of the merits of the evidence. The violations are very serious and go against the interests of society, the sovereignty and integrity of India. The High Court ignored all these aspects and issued the leave-based ordinance under the UAPA.

Social activists and a section of left-wing organizations expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision and urged them to be released on bail for medical treatment.

The All India Student Union (AISA) organized a peaceful protest at the university’s Faculty of Arts to demand the release of former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba.

However, Maharashtra’s Deputy Prime Minister Devendra Fadnavis hailed the Supreme Court order, saying it would bring relief to the families of police officers martyred in the Naxal attacks.

Fadnavis told reporters at Nagpur airport: “I am the professor satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend the High Court’s order on GN Saibaba. I said yesterday that the High Court’s decision was surprising and shocking to us, because releasing a person for technical reasons, against whom there was sufficient evidence to help the Maoists directly, was a mistake. So we only moved the Supreme Court yesterday ”.

The head of the IT unit of the BJP, Amit Malviya, criticized Congress for supporting Friday’s High Court order to acquit Saibaba and said: “Gokalkonda Naga Saibaba was arrested on February 16, 2014, when Congress headed by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power.

“We believe this is an appropriate case for the exercise of power under section 390 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the suspension of the High Court order,” the court said.

The Court stated: “We firmly believe that it is worthwhile to suspend the contested judgment and the order of the High Court. The contested judgment and the High Court’s order on the relevant grounds are suspended until further notice.

Chief Counselor R Basant, who appears for Saibaba, said his client is 90-95% physically disabled with paralysis and is completely dependent on a wheelchair.

Basant said: “He has a 23-year-old daughter and wife. Their bones pour into their lungs, making the situation worse. Considering these aspects, please don’t send him back to jail. Please release him from prison and place him under house arrest and he will abide by all conditions imposed by the court.

Opposing house arrest, Attorney General Tushar Mehta said: “Urban Naxals today tend to ask for house arrest, but everything can be done from home. House arrest cannot be an option.

To this, Basant said the superior court could order the cut of the Saibaba telephone line.

During the hearing, Mehta said there were disturbing facts in the case and that Saibaba was involved in various activities, including running an armed separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir, the war against the country’s democratic fabric and the organization of meetings of Maoist commanders. . “

“It was their mind and it implemented their ideology,” Mehta said.

Referring to Mehta’s remarks, Basant said Saibaba may have a soft spot for Maoist ideology, but it definitely wasn’t their mind.

The bench said: “Let’s say that not in the context of the case, but in general, that the mind is a very dangerous thing. For terrorists or Maoists, the mind is everything. It is not necessary to be directly involved.

The court formulated three issues for the highest court of appeal’s decision, including whether the High Court’s decision to release the accused Saibaba, who had been convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), was justified. The question of the lack of a mandatory sanction for criminal prosecution has never been raised in the first instance trial, but only at the level of appeal to the High Court.

Judge Trivedi observed that it is undisputed that an acquittal order cannot be issued by the appellate court without annulling the findings of the conviction order of the court of first instance.

The Supreme Court also accepted Mehta’s claim that the High Court did not order acquittal but dismissal and did not overturn the lower court’s decision.

The Bombay High Court on Friday acquitted former UA professor Saibaba in a case of alleged Maoist ties nearly eight years after his arrest.

The court stated that the penalty order for prosecuting the accused in the case under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was “erroneous in law and illegal”.

In addition to Saibaba, the court also acquitted Mahesh Kariman Tirkey, Pandu Pora Narote (both farmers), Hem Keshavdutt Mishra (student), Prashant Sanglikar (journalist) and Vijay Tirkey (worker). Vijay Tirkey was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while the others were sentenced to life in prison. Narote is dead.

Saibaba (52) takes the help of a wheelchair due to a physical disability. He is currently being held in the Nagpur Central Prison. He was arrested in February 2014.

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