High Court frees GN Saibaba

The High Court frees GN Saibaba and Co-Accused from Maoist Charges on March 5th, 2024. This decision overturned his life sentence.

High Court frees GN Saibaba 

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has cleared former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others of alleged involvement in a Maoist link case. The individuals acquitted by the Nagpur Bench include GN Saibaba, Hem Mishra, Mahesh Tirkey, Vijay Tirkey, Narayan Sanglikar, Prashant Rahi, and Pandu Narote (deceased).

Conditions for Bailment

The Bombay High Court also specified that the accused individuals can secure their release from custody by submitting bail bonds. They should be ₹50,000 each. This arrangement will remain in effect pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the state’s appeal.

Reversal of High Court’s Decision

A panel of justices, Vinay Joshi and Valmiki SA Menezes, issued the ruling. This was following the rehearsal of GN Saibaba’s appearance. The hearing overturned the High Court’s acquittal order from October 2022. The Supreme Court had referred the case back to the High Court for a new hearing.

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Initial Conviction

In 2017, a Nagpur Sessions Court in Gadchiroli found the former DU professor and five others guilty of alleged Maoist connections. They were accused of engaging in actions tantamount to waging war against the nation.

The session court held that Saibaba and two co-accused possessed Naxal literature with the intent to distribute it among underground Naxalites in Gadchiroli and residents of the district. This was with the intent to incite violence.

GN Saibaba’s Appeal

Following the session court’s verdict, the disabled former DU professor appealed to the Bombay High Court. It was led by Justice Rohit B. Deo on October 14, 2022. This appeal was granted due to the session court framing charges against GN Saibaba without sanction from the central government under Section 45(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The High Court bench subsequently acquitted GN Saibaba on October 14, 2022.

Supreme Court Intervention

Following this, the Maharashtra government appealed to the Supreme Court. They argued that failure to grant sanction cannot result in acquittal under Section 465 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The apex court promptly convened a special session the next day. On October 15, it halted the High Court’s decision.

Later, on April 19, 2023, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s acquittal judgment. They sent the case back to the High Court for a fresh review.

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GN Saibaba, in his mid-fifties, is wheelchair-bound and 99 percent disabled. He is currently held at Nagpur Central Jail.

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