After a full day in which Justice B.P.Verma insisted on demonstrating how slow the wheels of justice could turn in Chhattisgarh finally the order for Dr Binayak Sen’s release. First it was the delay in deciding the conditions for bail, which took till well after lunch time. Next was fulfiling the bail conditions, which included depositing Dr Sen’s passport plus the surety bond for Rs. 50,000. Then came the process of verification of surety bonds, attested by various officers and in triplicate blah, blah. It looked almost as if the release order would not come before the court closed at 5.30 PM today. Finally when Verma signed the release order the deep pain the task caused him was visible over his entire body, a terrible agony manifest itself over his face as his trembling hands undid – under Supreme Court orders- what his own trial court had committed just a few months ago. There is no doubt that there is at least one judge in the Raipur Sessions Court who is in need of a new profession. All suggestions are welcome.
After a full day in which Justice B.P.Verma insisted on demonstrating how slow the wheels of justice could turn in Chhattisgarh finally the order for Dr Binayak Sen’s release. First it was the delay in deciding the conditions for bail, which took till well after lunch time. Next was fulfiling the bail conditions, which included depositing Dr Sen’s passport plus the surety bond for Rs. 50,000.
Then came the process of verification of surety bonds, attested by various officers and in triplicate blah, blah. It looked almost as if the release order would not come before the court closed at 5.30 PM today. Finally when Verma signed the release order the deep pain the task caused him was visible over his entire body, a terrible agony manifest itself over his face as his trembling hands undid – under Supreme Court orders- what his own trial court had committed just a few months ago.
There is no doubt that there is at least one judge in the Raipur Sessions Court who is in need of a new profession. All suggestions are welcome.
The Supreme Court today 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 Mr. 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.”
See live Tweets at http://twitter.com/binayaksen
Raipur Trail court will Prepare Bail papers. Binayak Should be out by tomorrow evening #binayaksen #trail
In a short order Supreme court grants bail to Dr. Sen!. Trial court asked to give bail with conditions if necessary! #binayaksen #trial
Judge asks if gandhi’s autobiography is found in a house does anyone become a Gandhiyan? #binayaksen #trial
Prosecutor is reading out long passages from maoist document in court. Maybe he is a sympathiser!! #binayaksen #trial
C’garh consel flustered by Jethmalani intervention . Asks for Court’s protection. Court requests ram to let consel speak #binayaksen #trial
Mere possession of Seditious Material is not punishable Say Judges #binayaksen #trial
Prosecution reiterates Maoist charge and emphasizes violence of CPI(Maoist) #binayaksen #trial
#binayaksen #trial Judges question sedition charge in Binayak case
Very lame points made by Prosecution. They say. #binayaksen #trial
#binayaksen #trial cites Kedarnath Vs Bihar case on sedition
Judges say evidence is weak! #binayaksen #trial
case hearing starts #binayaksen #trial
Ram speaking. criticizes sessions court judgement and charge of sedition #binayaksen #trial. cites previous supreme court judgments
Free Dr Binayak Sen! Free Indian Democracy! Binayaksen.net editorial http://bit.ly/fbR6Cg
RT @anivar: Case no 46 now. Next is #binayak sen’s case
RT @anivar: Case no 43 is going on. 3 more to go before #binayak sen’s case.
RT @anivar: Cases moving rapidly. Cases mostly related to murder and property dispute. Waiting for #binayak sen’s case
RT @anivar: Ram jethmalani in court to take up binayaksen case. Has appeared in a case in same court earlier. won some relief in that case.
@binayaksen s case listed as case no. 47. Case no. 20 is going on. Another 20 to go
59 minutes ago
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, April 14, 2011
NEW DELHI: The Chhattisgarh government has told the Supreme Court that PUCL leader and paediatrician Binayak Sen should not be granted bail as he had arranged for safe hideouts for hardcore naxal leaders and helped them get employment under concealed identity.
Ahead of the April 15 hearing on Sen’s bail plea by a Bench of Justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad, the state through standing counsel Atul Jha submitted an additional affidavit before the court terming the activities of Sen and his wife Elina as “anti-national” as they helped the cadre of CPI (Maoist), which had been declared a terrorist organisation and banned by the Centre and the state governments.
The state government said that for the hardcore naxalites, he arranged safe hideouts by arranging houses on rent, helped them open bank accounts and in getting employment under concealed identity and provided employment by incorporating trusts.
It said the Andhra Pradesh Police announced a cash award of Rs 12 lakhs for the arrest of top naxalite and politburo member of CPIM(Maoist) Narayan Sanyal on March 25, 2006, but Sen maintained strong links with him. When Sanyal was arrested and lodged in jail, Sen met him on the false pretext of treating him.
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, Apr 11 (IBNS): The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned till Friday the bail plea of human rights activist and physician Binayak Sen, jailed for his alleged Maoist links but hailed by many as a person working tirelessly for the down-trodden.
The bail will be heard on Friday because the Chhattisgarh government has asked for two days’ time in the case.
The adjournment came as an anti-climax to the expectations on Monday as the family of Sen along with human rights activists and even members of the European Union, which is monitoring the case, had gathered for the Supreme Court decision on the bail plea.
On Feb 10, the Chhattisgarh High Court had struck down the plea following which Sen’s counsel and family had moved the apex court.
“I am very disappointed. There is no basis for jailing him on sedition charges, none of the protocol was followed. I am sad but we will fight it out,” his wife Elina Sen had said, informing about her decision to file a special leave petition.
Hearing the plea on Mar 11, the apex court had issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government, asking it to file a response within four weeks.
The state government in its reply opposed Sen’s bail plea, saying he had deep links with hardcore Maoists and provides them with active support to spread their network.
Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani appeared on behalf of Sen. The bail plea has been sought on grounds that the trial court convicted him erroneously despite no substantial evidence.
The petition also says that Sen has already spent two years in prison after his arrest and should be granted bail while his appeal is pending at the High Court.
Sen’s trial is closely monitored by human rights activists the world over while a delegation of the European Union also came to India to see the judicial process.
Forty Nobel laureates from 12 countries earlier appealed for Binayak Sen’s release.
The Nobel laureates, including Ventkatraman Ramakrishnan, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, appealing for Sen’s release and called Sen an ‘exceptional, courageous and selfless colleague, dedicated to helping those in India who are least able to help themselves.”
Sen was sentenced for sedition by a Sessions court in Raipur on Dec 24. His family had moved the Chhattisgarh High Court against the life sentence.
Sen, who was arrested in May 2007 from Bilaspur, was detained for two years, and released on bail in May 2009.
In 2008, he was awarded the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights by the Global Health Council.
Honourable High Court Decides Criminal Appeal No. 20 & No. 54/2011.
The detailed judgement of the Chhattisgarh High Court (HC) at Bilaspur in Criminal Appeal No. 20/2011 of Dr. Binayak Sen & No. 54/2011 of Piyush Guha is before me. It was shared on the Chhattisgarh Net by Vivek Sundara. There were high expectations in many quarters that HC will grant interim relief to Sen and may be Guha too by granting bail; while hearing on the overturning of conviction on Sedition & Conspiracy case proceeds at the “pace” for which Indian Judicial system is now infamous. Renowned criminal lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, offered to fight Sen’s case pro bono though he belongs to the same Bharatiy Janata Party, which rules the government in Chhattisgarh and is prosecuting the case; then EU delegation asked for permission to attend the proceedings in HC and was granted its wish; and lastly 40 Nobel Laureates in a signed letter asked for Sen’s release on bail. All these events heightened the sense of drama surrounding the appeal. But unexpected happened when the bail was denied to Sen & Guha.
The judgement first records submissions of Defence Lawyers (DL) that presumably it considers germane to the appeal in paragraphs 4 to 20; follows up with same exercise for submissions of Prosecution Lawyers (PL) in paragraphs 21 & 22, and finally reaches its conclusions over the course of paragraphs 23 to 54. All the references to paragraphs and pages pertain to the scanned copy of the detailed judgement made available by Vivek Sundara.
A] Before, one follows the flow of the judgement; it would be worthwhile to note some of the internal inconsistencies in the judgement. Some could be blamed on typographical errors, but not all.
1. See paragraph 31 (page 21) : “It is trite (lacking power) to say that for constituting the offence of conspiracy and sedition it is neither necessary that the person accused should himself be the author of the seditious materials nor is it necessary that there should be actual or attempted hatred, contempt or disaffection brought or excited, by the accused himself”. This statement flies in the face of rest of the judgement where it is repeatedly held that accused need not be the author of seditious material and he himself need not have attempted or succeeded to incite hatred… for proving the charge of conspiracy & sedition.
2. Article A19 is described as booklet of ‘Communist Party of India (ML)’- see paragraph 34, page 23. Whereas same A19 is ‘Peoples March Visheshank’ related with ‘Krantikari Gorilla Yudh’ & ‘Lok Yudh’ (paragraph 36 page 25); and it reveals constitution of PLGA (criminal force) and ‘Jan Sena Gorilla Zone Krantikari Samyukta Morcha’ (paragraph 48 page 32). There are many organizations today that claim to be some variant of CPI(ML), have given up armed struggle, and now operate as ‘lawful organizations’. But terms Naxalites or Maoists, who are committed to armed struggle, are used to describe only CPI(Maoist). Such confusion was avoidable because much is held in store based on A19.
The Chhattisgarh high court on Friday admitted an appeal filed by rights activist Binayak Sen, challenging the life sentence given to him by a local court after being convicted for sedition and links with Maoists, and posted the matter for hearing on January 24.
After preliminary hearing, division bench of Justices TP Sharma and Justice RL Jhanwar asked the trial court to submit the case diary and deferred hearing on the case to January 24.
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(Given below is the full text of the judgement of Raipur Sessions Court sentencing Dr Binayak Sen for life. It is a translation from the Hindi. The translation has been done by the Free Binayak Sen campaign. You can download here (.pdf) the Hindi original. also read the Critique of the Judgement )
Raipur: A pair of burly hands affixes several lengths of masking tape to an open brown bag. Then the same hands are shown to belong to an officer of the Chhattisgarh police; one hand holds the bag open as the other riffles through the bag’s contents. “This is what we have taken,” says a voice in Hindi.
When the police leave the house of Binayak Sen, an award-winning physician and human rights activist, and walk the down the stairs, one can still see the same brown bag, unsealed and swinging from the right hand of a policeman.
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Update From Ilina Sen
We have just finished two days of court hearings, on the 10th and 11th of June.in which our lawyers cross examined Inspector Jagrit , a senior member of the investigating team. Jagrit was systematically torn to shreds, as our lawyer took up each document seized from the house search, asked J to explain how this was of relevance to charges they were making against Binayak, and Jagrit was unable to sustain his bluster. He also went into the technical details of the seizure procedure to establish that the search was not done properly, documents were not signed by the witnesses, copies were not filed in court , etc. In an impartial court this puts the entire search and seizure into question… but of course this is Chhattisgarh.
The prosecution now wishes to apply to reexamine one of their own witnesses, which our lawyers will contest, and put the main investigating officer on the stand, and say that they will close their case with that. The next date for the IO is July 19. Seeing the length of time it took Jagrit to give his main deposition and be cross examined (6 months), this should take us into 2011.Then there is the defence to follow, and lastly, the final arguements. ilina