Mumbai, September 10, 2023: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has completed the hearing and reserved its judgment on the appeal filed by former Delhi University professor Dr G N Saibaba, who was arrested for suspected links to the CPI (Maoist), and four of his co-defendants on Thursday.
The division bench of Justice Vinay Joshi and Justice Valimiki Menezes was hearing the appeals following directions from the Supreme Court. The bench heard the appeals filed by Saibaba, Mahesh Tirki, Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi, who were sentenced to life imprisonment and Vijay, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a special court in 2017.
On October 14, 2022, another bench of Justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare had set aside the convictions, ordering the release of all four men in the case. The court had then said that the proceedings before the special court were “null and void” in the absence of a valid sanction under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. On the next day, a special sitting was held in the Supreme Court before the bench of Justices MR Shah and Bela M Trivedi.
The state sought a stay on the Nagpur bench order stating that the court had not gone into the merits of the case. The SC had on the same day suspended the Nagpur bench order stating that it is prima facie of the opinion that a detailed scrutiny is required so far as the impugned judgment and order passed by the HC is concerned” and added that several important questions of law need to be considered.
In April 2023, the Supreme Court set aside the order of the high court and remanded the case back for a fresh hearing before another bench.
It had directed for the hearing to be concluded within four months. The appeal was then heard before the new bench, which on Thursday closed the case for judgment. In August, citing personal reasons, judge of the previous bench, Justice Rohit Deo, resigned.
In 2013, the Gadchiroli police arrested the men on allegations that they were members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its frontal group the Revolutionary Democratic Front.