In the one year since her husband has been incarcerated, A S Vasantha has got to visit him only five times. They have been communicating mostly with letters. In one, he wrote, “I feel like boiled flesh being cooked in a pressure cooker.” Vasantha’s husband, Delhi University English professor G N Saibaba, was arrested on May 9 last year for alleged Maoist links. He has been kept in solitary confinement in an anda cell at Nagpur central prison.
“At the time of his arrest, Sai was 90 per cent disabled due to post-polio paralysis. Now, his condition has deteriorated to such an extent that only his right hand is working. I am not sure if he will come out of prison alive,” she said. Saibaba, who was suffering from high pressure and a heart ailment until last year, has developed stones in both kidneys and the gall bladder. “Sai’s left hand is barely functioning and his backbone has been dislocated. These ailments have crippled his body. Because of the heat and lack of medicine, he has fainted several times and his nose and ears often bleed,” his wife said.
HC set to release Prof Saibaba on bail
MUMBAI: Bombay High Court on Friday indicated that it would release Delhi University professor G N Saibaba next week in order to enable him to take proper treatment in Delhi. Saibaba was arrested by Maharashra police last year for Maoist links and jailed in the Nashik Central Prison. “Why don’t you release him on bail? “asked a bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anil Menon while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation converted out of a letter which highlighted the deteriorating condition of Saibaba who is 90 percent disabled due to post-polio paralysis. He is suffering from ailments including of heart, liver and gall-bladder stones and severe back pain. Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde replied that there is “enough material” against Saibaba and added that the State is providing him every support.
But Justice Shah explained,” “We are not saying we are inclined to quash proceedings. Look at the position of this man and his family !” Justice Menon added,”With solitary confinement, it will get worse.” The bench also remarked that with each passing day his Delhi-based family cannot stay with him in Nagpur. “All facilities are also there in Delhi. Ultimately we want the prisoner to get proper treatment. What difference it makes to you if he is in Nagpur or Delhi? What will be the harm caused to you?, ” asked Justice Shah. It was then that the CJ also said,”We are passing an order indicating that we are inclined to release him on bail.” Purnima Upadhyay of NGO Khoj had drawn High Court’s attention to Saibaba’s worsening condition through her letter.
Earlier her advocate Gayatri Singh informed that due to delays the family has undergone medical expenses of around Rs 1 lakh and it is likely to go up. She urged that Saibaba be granted bail and allowed to go to Delhi where he can undergo treatment in a government hospital like All India Institute of Medical Sciences. “The hospital has treated him earlier,” she added. Singh also said Saibaba’s wife has to come from Delhi everytime and has also to look after his mother and their child. In their order, the bench said it prima facie finds merit in her submission.
Also, it prima facie finds that there is “change in circumstances” after the order was passed by a single HC judge rejecting Saibaba’s bail plea. The bench noted contents of Upadhyay’s affidavit in which she stated that she met Saibaba in prison on June 24. He had to be wheeled in with assistance, his shoulder has been dislocated and his right hand is getting affected due to spinal problems. Besides, his kidney and gall bladder problems have led to urinal infection for which he is taking high dosage of medicines.
The bench said Saibaba requires constant assistance of family members during hospitalisation and its impossible for his wife to constantly accompany him in Nagpur prison. ” In view of the subsequent development, the deterioration of health condition of the prisoner, that it is necessary to re-examine plea of petitioner for release of prisoner on bail subject to conditions and safeguards,” it added. It has posted the next hearing on June 30 asking that documents be kept ready so as to enable completion of formalities for surety and to ensure that there is no further delay.
Kerala HC bench stays compensation for youth once arrested for alleged Maoist link
The stay on the order to pay compensation came when the government appealed the division bench against the single bench ruling. Acting upon an appeal filed by the Kerala Government, a division bench of Kerala high court on Friday stayed a single bench directive to pay compensation for a youth who had been nabbed by police on charges of alleged Maoist link. Last month, a single bench of the high court had asked the state to pay Shyam Balakrishnan, a native of Wayanad, a compensation of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10,000 as litigation cost. The directive to pay compensation was part of the high court verdict, which said being a Maoist is not a crime and that a person cannot be arrested merely because is one.
The stay on the order to pay compensation came when the government appealed the division bench against the single bench ruling. Balakrishnan, son of a former high court judge, was illegally picked up by police last year on suspicion of being a Maoist. Alleging police harassment, Balakrishnan moved the high court against the police, claiming that the police action infringed on Article 21 of the Constitution. The court had then said, “being a Maoist is no crime. Freedom of thought and liberty of conscience is a natural right. Freedom becomes unlawful only when it concerns the physical law of the State.”