TABLE OF CONTENT
- A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAIBABA’S CASE
- WHO IS PROFESSOR SAIBABA
- LIFE IMPRISONMENT OF SAIBABA
- THE ACQUITTAL
- SUPREME COURT STAYS THE ACQUITTAL BY HC
- ARGUMENTS ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT
- ARGUMENTS ON BEHLAF OF SAIBABA
- THE SUPREME COURT ORDER
The Supreme Court on Saturday had a special sitting to hear the petition filed by the Government of Maharashtra challenging the Order of Bombay High court, Nagpur Bench, on the discharge of Ex. Professor of Delhi University G.N. Saibaba and 5 others were accused under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967.
SUPREME COURT Bench comprises of; JUSTICE MR SHAH and BELA M TRIVEDI.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAIBABA’S CASE
WHO IS PROFESSOR SAIBABA
Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba (G.N.Saibaba), who is a writer, Indian Scholar, Human Rights Activist, As well as he worked as Professor At Delhi University. He was born in Amalapuram, East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh, in a peasant family. He has been in wheelchairs due to polio since he was child. He Post Graduated in Master of Arts in English from University of Hyderabad. He completed his doctorate From Delhi University and completed his doctoral thesis on the topic “Indian Writing in English and Nation Making: Reading the Discipline”.1,3
LIFE IMPRISONMENT OF SAIBABA
Saibaba is a human right Activist, in the year 2004 he joined Mumbai Resistance, a platform that represented more than 300 political movements. In the following year he joined RDP (Revolutionary Democratic Front). In 2009 , he opposed central government’s Operation Green Hunt( the term operation Green Hunt is used by the Indian Media to describe the “all out Offences”by government’s paramilitary forces and state’s forces against Naxalities) later the party was banned in Andhra Pradesh in the year 2012.
In 2012, the Andhra Pradesh state government banned the political party called RDP. In 2014, may 9th Saibaba was arrested on allegation that he has links with Maoists, which are considered as extreme revolutionaries and they are banned. Prior to his arrest he was questioned more than 4 times in the last 6 months before his arrest. Even though he was released on medical grounds, he then rearrested in the year 2015.
The Supreme Court granted bail to him in the year 2016. On 2017 march 07, the Sessions court of Gadchiroli sentenced Saibaba to life imprisonment. After the imprisonment his health deteriorated and he became 90% handicapped so he became dependent on other people.The medias were reported that his co prisoners help him to
Saibaba was always confronted that he has no links with Maoists and he is not running any Maoist group. In the year 2021 he was removed from the Professorship from the University of
March 07,2017;Judgement of Gadchiroli Sessions Court: Prof. Saibaba along with 5 other accused were convicted and sentenced by this court presided by Suryakanth S, Shinde. The police accusations include, Offences punishable Under Section 13,18,20,38,and 39 of UAPA,1967 read with sec 120B of IPC.
Saibaba has applied several Pleas before High Court of Bombay for getting parole/bail due to his weak health condition and his Mother’s health issues. His Pleas were rejected multiple times. Prof. Saibaba who was 90% disable denied bail at the time also when he was infected by Corona Virus. On 13 February 2021 he was tested Covid-19 Positive. After he was affected with covid 19 he requested to transfer him to a better hospital which was also rejected by court. He pleaded for house arrest and the opposite counsel argued that, if a person like Saibaba was granted house arrest, he will continue his link with Maoist through media in his house.4
The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on 14, October 2022 acquitted Prof. Saibaba after more than 8 years spent his life in Nagpur Central Prison in a wheelchair bound with a physical handicap of 90%above and aged 55.
The HC of Bombay has discharged accused no.1 to 5 including Saibaba on the ground that, the sanction to prosecute the accused was vitiated and invalid sanction as there was non- application of mind on the part of the sanctioning authority in as much as some material was not before the authority and no reason were assigned while granting the sanction.
Saibaba was acquitted on the ground that, at the time of taking cognizance and framing of charge, there was no sanction to prosecute Saibaba at all. The High court opinion that the Trial Court Proceedings were ‘Null and Void’ in the absence of valid sanction under section 45(1) of UAPA.
Section 45(1) of UAPA, 1967 reads as follows :
“No Court shall take cognizance of any offence-
- under Chapter III without the previous sanction of the central government or any office authorised by the Central Government in this behalf;
- under Chapters IV and VI without the previous sanction of the Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government, and where such offence is committed against the Government of a Foreign Country without the previous sanction of the Central Government.”
SUPREME COURT STAYS THE ACQUITTAL BY HC
The honourable Supreme Court held a Special Sitting on 15th October 2022, the very next day of H.C decision of Acquittal. The bench of Justice MR Shah and Bela M Trivedi heard the appeal by the Maharashtra Government against the order of acquittal by the Bombay high court against 55 aged ,90% physically handicaped,Who is under jail for more than 8 year , being accused of maist link, Saibaba.
Solicitor General Mr. Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the Government and Senior Advocate Mr. R Basant appeared for Saibaba
ARGUMENTS ON BEHALF OF GOVERNMENT
- The Counsel for the Government argued that the High Court ignored the seriousness and gravity of the offence for which the arrest was made. They prayed to suspend the impugned judgement and order passed by the High Court in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.
- The application filed by the accused on medical ground,to suspend the sentence under section 389 Cr.P.C. was specifically rejected by the High Court in the year 2020
ARGUMENTS ON BEHALF OF SAIBABA
- The accused is 55 years old, he was a professor in the University, he has a family staying in Delhi, his medical condition is such that he is required to be released on bail, and he is on wheel-chair with 90% physical disability.
- On 04th April 2016, the Supreme Court had specifically observed that a case is made out for bail considering his medical condition. Hence, he may be released on bail on any condition that may be imposed by the court looking at his medical condition.
THE SUPREME COURT ORDER
The court considered section 390 of Cr.P.C. , relied on the previous decision of this court in the case State of UP v. Poosu and Another5, the court held that,’ the appellate court in an appeal against acquittal may even suspend the order of acquittal passed by the appellate court’. And the court in this case decided that ‘it is not disputed that this court can suspend the judgement and order passed by the High Court acquitting the accused’.
On the question of releasing the accused on bail on medical grounds, the Supreme Court took note of Bombay H.C order dated 28/07/2020 wherein the bail plea was rejected by a detailed order as except for narrating the ailments said to be suffered by hi,. No further details were given .It was also noted that appropriate medical aid was being provided to him
The Supreme Court suspended the HC order till any further order of this court, and also granted 4 week time to Saibaba and other accused to file counters.
- DoctoralResearch: abstracts of Thesis-vol-14.University of Delhi,2013
- (GN SAIBABA:THE revolutionary in /delhi /university, Times Of India, 23 September 2013)
- (1976)3 scc 1