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Bombay High Court Acquits GN Saibaba In Alleged Maoist Case

In relation to an alleged Maoist link case, the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench on Tuesday released former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others in custody.

The court’s decision came after Saibaba and others appealed against a 2017 sessions court ruling that found them guilty. The court also reconsidered Saibaba’s appeal because a previous bench of the High Court had already cleared the disabled professor on October 14, 2022.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the 2022 decision to clear them of charges and sent the case back to the High Court for a new hearing.

The bench of Justices Vinay Joshi and Valmiki SA Menezes stated that the prosecution couldn’t prove the case against the accused. They also mentioned that the sanction under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was considered “Null and void” due to the lack of proper legal authorization.

The bench added that the trial held by the Gadchiroli Sessions court, despite violating mandatory provisions of the law itself, amounts to a failure of justice.

The bench observed that the entire prosecution case was vitiated because of an invalid sanction to prosecute all the accused.

Noting that there was hardly any evidence, the bench said that the prosecution had failed to establish any legal seizure or incriminating material against the accused.

“The trial court judgment is not sustainable in the hands of law. We therefore allow the appeals and set aside the impugned judgment. All accused stand acquitted,” said the bench.

Saibaba, who is fifty-four years old, is entirely disabled and reliant on a wheelchair. At the moment, he is being held at Nagpur Central Jail.

Let me explain you the background of this case:

In March 2017, Saibaba and the others were found guilty by a sessions court in Gadchiroli for allegedly having ties to the Maoist links and engaging in actions that amounted to waging war against the nation.

The sessions court had ruled that Saibaba and two other accused were found to be in possession of Naxal literature. The court stated that their intention was to circulate this literature among underground Naxalites in Gadchiroli and residents of the district to incite people to resort to violence.

Moreover, the sessions court had dismissed the argument that the lack of sanction to prosecute Saibaba was detrimental to the prosecution’s case.

Saibaba appealed against the sessions court’s decision to the Bombay High Court, which was heard by a bench led by Justice Rohit B Deo on October 14, 2022.

The bench granted Saibaba’s appeal and acquitted him.

Vasantha GN, wife of Saibaba, welcomed the high court’s ruling, expressing satisfaction with the outcome and thanking individuals and human rights activists who supported Saibaba throughout the legal process.

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