Prof GN Saibaba Case: Supreme Court to hear Maharashtra Govt’s appeal against HC’s discharge order on Jan 17

On January 17, the Supreme Court of India will hear the Maharashtra government's plea challenging the acquittal granted by the Bombay High Court discharging former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and others in an alleged Maoist links case, reported LiveLaw.

GN Saibaba

On October 15, the apex court had suspended the Bombay High Court’s order discharging Saibaba and five others, in a sudden Saturday urgent hearing. Other accused in the matter Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Pora Narote (deceased during appeal), Hem Keshwdatta Mishra, Prashant Rahi, and Vijay Nan Tirki. State of Maharashtra v. Mahesh Kariman Tirki And Ors. Diary No. 33164/2022

SG Tushar Mehta, appearing before a division bench of Justices MR Shah and Hima Kohli, assured the court that all the evidence, comprising 10 volumes would be submitted along with convenience compliance within a week. “We cannot go through entire convenience compliance….”, the Court remarked, noting the number of volumes. “This is just to show that we are not being selective”, the SG said.

Senior Advocate R Basant appearing for Saibaba (Respondent 6) said that service is not complete and he would file a counter soon.

Senior Advocate Nita Ramakrishnan, appearing for Respondents 1 (Tirki), 4 (Narayan), and 5 (Nan Tirki) said that she does not wish to file any counter affidavit.

Accordingly, the Bench directed the parties to file their counter affidavits within 10 days.

Before the bench moved on with other matters, SG Mehta tried to convince the Court to move the coming-up hearing to a later date. “Yesterday also you did not appear in some important matters”, Justice Shah commented. “We were taking care of animal rights in the Jallikattu matter”, the SG replied.

At the hearing on October 15, the Supreme Court suspended the High Court’s order on the grounds that the accused were discharged only on the ground of irregularities in granting sanction for prosecution under the UAPA, without entering into the merits of the matter. The bench had then observed that it requires detailed consideration of whether an appellate court can discharge the accused on the ground of sanction after they have been convicted by the trial court based on the basis of evidence on record.

Factual Background of the Case

Professor GN Saibaba, bound by a wheelchair due to post-polio paralysis, had previously filed an application seeking suspension of sentence on medical grounds, which was rejected by the High Court. He has stated that he is suffering from multiple ailments, including kidney and spinal cord problems.

In 2019, the High Court had previously rejected his application to suspend the sentence. The order of conviction and sentence was passed by the Sessions Court at Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, in March 2017, for offenses under Sections 13, 18, 20, 38, and 39 of the UAPA and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code for alleged association with Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), which was alleged to be an affiliate of outlawed Maoist organization. The accused were arrested in 2014.


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