The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur division acquitted former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba of all charges in a case involving alleged Maoist ties and ordered his immediate release from custody.
A division bench of Justice Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare allowed the appeal filed by Saibaba challenging a 2017 order of the trial court convicting him and sentencing him to life imprisonment. Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound due to a physical disability, is currently lodged at the Nagpur central prison. He is plagued by pancreatitis, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility, and sleeplessness.
The bench also allowed the appeal of five other convicts in the case and acquitted them. One of the five died pending hearing of the appeal. The bench directed for the convicts to be released forthwith from jail unless they are accused in any other case.
In March 2017, a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district had convicted Saibaba and others, including a journalist and a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student for alleged Maoist links and for engaging in actions that amounted to waging war against the nation.
The court had held Saibaba and the others guilty under various provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Saibaba’s left hand is on the verge of failure and there is acute pain spreading in both his hands.