The Supreme Court on Thursday posted for hearing on January 17, 2023 the Maharashtra government’s plea against a Bombay High Court order acquitting former Delhi University Professor G N Saibaba in an alleged Maoist links case. A bench of Justices M R Shah and Hima Kohli directed the parties to complete pleadings in the matter.
“Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has stated that the entire evidence on record comprising 10 volumes along with convenience compliance will be filed within one week," the bench said. Counter, if any, has to be filed within a period of 10 days, it said.
Senior advocate R Basant appeared for Saibaba.
The top court had on October 15 suspended the Bombay High Court order acquitting Saibaba and others in the Maoist links case.
It had rejected Saibaba’s request to order his release from jail due to his disability and health conditions and put him under house arrest after the Maharashtra government opposed the prayer, saying nowadays, there is a new tendency of “urban Naxals" to seek house arrest.
More than eight years after his arrest in 2014, the Bombay High Court had on October 14 acquitted Saibaba and ordered his release from jail, noting that the sanction order issued to prosecute the accused in the case under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was “bad in law and invalid".
The Nagpur bench of the HC allowed the appeal filed by Saibaba challenging a 2017 order of the trial court convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment for offences under provisions of UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Apart from Saibaba, the court has acquitted Mahesh Kariman Tirki, Pandu Pora Narote (both farmers), Hem Keshavdatta Mishra (student) and Prashant Sanglikar (journalist), who were sentenced to life imprisonment, and Vijay Tirki (labourer), who was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Narote died during the appeal’s pendency.
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