Supreme Court grants bail to Binayak Sen

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chhattisgarh trial court for sedition and helping Naxalites to set up a network to fight the State.

The Supreme Court said it was giving no reason for granting bail to 61-year-old Sen and left it to the satisfaction of the trial court concerned to impose the conditions for his release on bail.

A bench comprising Justices H.S. Bedi and C.K. Prasad passed the order on the petition moved by Mr. Sen challenging the order of Chhattisgarh High Court denying him bail.

During the hearing, the bench observed that “we are a democratic country. He may be a sympathiser (of Naxalites) but it did not make him guilty of sedition.

“He is a sympathiser. Nothing beyond that,” the bench further said, perusing the affidavit filed by the Chhattisgarh government opposing his bail.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Dr. Sen, submitted in his affidavit that the state has been unable to point out misconduct on his part.

The bench also said that all the statements made by the state has no relevance.

It said other documents and evidences produced by the state government including that he met co-accused Piyush Guha 30 times in a jail and pamphlets and documents relating to Maoist activities were recovered from his possession did not mean that he was involved in seditious activities.

However, senior advocate U.U. Lalit, appearing for the state government, said that no case is made out for the bail and submitted that the activities of Mr. Sen have to be seen in a broader perspective.

When the bench asked him whether his activities in any way connect to the offence of sedition, Mr. Lalit said, “My case has been accepted by the trial court and the apex court has only to consider whether he can be granted bail or not.”

When the court asked him if there were any documents backing the charge of sedition, Lalit said Sen visited the jail and exchanged documents with Guha and others.

However, this submission did not satisfy the bench, which said, “Visitors are screened and searched by the jail staff when they go and meet the inmates.

“The jailors are there to oversee all these things. So the question of passing letters or documents doesn’t arise.”

“The worst can be said that he was found in possession of general documents (relating to Naxal activities) but how can it be said that such possession would attract the charge of sedition. How can you lay the charge of sedition?” the bench asked.

While granting bail, the bench said, “We are concerned with the implementation of the judgement as no case of sedition is even made out.”

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