The Supreme Court on Friday (22 January 2016) issued notice to the Maharashtra government on a plea of Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba for bail in a case of his alleged links with the Revolutionary Democrats Front – an alleged front organisation of the banned CPI-Maoist.
Saibaba, who was arrested by Maharashtra Police in May 2015 for his alleged Maoist links, has challenged the Bombay High Court (Nagpur bench) order dated December 23, 2015, rejecting his plea for regular bail.
An apex court bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan also issued notice on author and social activist Arundhati Roy’s plea challenging the order to summon her on a contempt-of-court plea.
Issuing notice returnable in two weeks, the court did not, however, accept Roy’s plea for exemption from appearance in court in pursuance to her summoning by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.
Roy was issued contempt notice over her article in an English magazine, in which she wrote, “So afraid is the government of this paralysed wheelchair-bound academic that the Maharashtra Police had to abduct him for arrest.”
Roy was issued notice for contempt on a plea by advocate Bhandarkar who alleged that Roy’s piece was “interference in the administration of justice”.
Saibaba was released on interim bail on health grounds by the Bombay High Court which treated as a public interest litigation an email based on a newspaper report on his failing health condition. Saibaba suffers from 90 percent disability due to post-polio paralysis.
The interim bail was extended till December 31 as court asked him to approach the Nagpur bench of the high court for regular bail. The other accused in the case had already been granted bail.
However, when Saibaba moved for regular bail, the plea was rejected on December 23 and he was asked to surrender at the Nagpur Central Jail within two days.
Rejecting the bail plea of Saibaba, the high court’s Nagpur bench said: “There is a prima facie case against the applicant based on strong evidence and, in fact, the applicant who is an intellectual, has used his intelligence for anti-national activities for which there is strong evidence against him as discussed and, therefore, the case of the applicant cannot be considered on the ground of parity.”