On 27 June 2015, the division bench of the High Court of Maharashtra ordered that no further time be wasted on the next date of hearing (i.e. on 30) due to delay in fulfilling the technicalities so that when the bail is granted on the same day, Dr. GN Saibaba can be rushed for appropriate medical attention for his fast deteriorating health. The observations of the court had an urgency not seen before in the last 13 months, unprecedented in manner and intent, in which the judicial mind applied itself on the specific and basic needs of a 90 percent disabled Delhi University professor, incarcerated for his political opinions. Yet this was what his lawyers were trying in vain to impress upon the court in every bail petition filed on his behalf. And this was what a cross section of the civil society, intellectuals, retired judges, teachers and civil libertarians have been time and again pointing out with growing concern and disbelief of the steady deterioration of health of a 90 percent disabled professor—who cannot meet his everyday needs without special assistance—getting into a spiral with one medical complication after the other and the courts till very recently turning a deaf ear to his plight. What was more of concern and disbelief was the lack of application of judicial mind in the pronouncements of the courts so far as the prosecution’s non-existent claims of “good treatment” and “good facilities” given to Dr. GN Saibaba in the prison as well as hospital was taking precedence in its denial of the much needed relief to the professor. Notwithstanding the claims of the prosecution of better treatment given to Dr. GN Saibaba they themselves admitted on record before the sessions court Gadchiroli on 14 May 2014 that Dr. GN Saibaba’s health had indeed deteriorated.
Even the orders of the sessions court to move him from the anda cell to another room with a cooler and three more people to assist him was also blatantly violated by the police without any grounds. The utter contempt of the police in Maharashtra for court orders was to see playing out in real terms in the case of Dr. GN Saibaba.
As his lawyers were preparing to move the HC in the Nagpur bench, it was the letter of an activist Ms. Poornima Upadhyay to the Chief Justice of Maharashtra High Court with the report in The Hindu showing the violation of the court orders and the deteriorating health of Dr. GN Saibaba—to the extent that any imminent possibility of a medical emergency that can be fatal would have been construed by every discerning mind as judicial culpability—did the court intervene to bring in a semblance of order by granting relief in the form of a temporary 3 month bail for medical recuperation. But even as this order is getting operational in all earnest, the Maharashtra edition of Times of India and Indian Express (Dated 03 July 2015) quotes the state government version of its intent to challenge the temporary relief given to Dr. GN Saibaba by the High Court in the Supreme Court! Though the court still has not recognized Dr. GN Saibaba’s genuine right for a permanent bail we believe that the present order of the division bench of the Maharashtra High Court is a significant step in that direction.
In the mean time certain sections of the media have reported that the Mumbai High Court has imposed restrictions on Saibaba in using mobile phones, computers or laptops while others insisted that security forces will be stationed before the residence of Dr. GN Saibaba in Delhi as per court orders. Both the reports are patently false only to further stigmatize the incarcerated professor.
As per the order of the High Court, the lawyers of Dr. GN Saibaba had submitted a list of 8 super specialty hospitals from Delhi and Hyderabad including AIIMS, New Delhi and NIMS, Hyderabad before the Sessions Court, Gadchiroli. The Central Institute of Medical Sciences (CIMS) Nagpur where Dr. GN Saibaba was being treated had referred him to the AIIMS, New Delhi and this has already been reported to the Mumbai High Court.
The Committee extends its greetings to all the doctors who treated Dr. GN Saibaba at various hospitals in Nagpur.
Significantly the temporary relief given to Dr. GN Saibaba by the Mumbai High Court is the partial fruition of the hard work put in by his lawyers in Gadchiroli, Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi. Our greetings to all of them. It is significant for all of us who tirelessly campaigned for the defence and release of Dr. GN Saibaba—civil libertarians, teachers, intellectuals, students, workers, social/people’s activists, artists, journalists, film makers, writers. It is significant for all of us who could see through the growing apathy of the powers that be and to realize further that the struggle is half won and the need to keep the momentum up to ensure his unconditional release. It once again reminds us the plight of hundreds of thousands of such people incarcerated for their political beliefs; dissent; kept behind bars for years together with the farce of the trial at a snail’s pace.
COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE AND RELEASE OF DR. GN SAIBABA