Posts Tagged ‘Bail
New Delhi, May 7, 2012
The Supreme Court on Monday suspended the life sentence of CPI (Maoist) activist Narayan Sanyal, held guilty of committing sedition by a Chhattisgarh court in 2010, and granted bail to him.
A bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhaya gave bail to 78-year-old Sanyal, considering his age and the fact that he has already spent over six years in jail since his arrest in 2006.
The bench said the concerned trial court would impose the condition to its satisfaction for Mr. Sanyal’s release on bail.
Mr. Narayan Sanyal was convicted along with People’s Union of Civil Liberties’ Vice President Binayak Sen and a Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha for colluding with the Maoists in expanding their network to fight the state.
Mr. Sen was granted bail and his sentence was suspended by the apex court on April 15 last year.
They were held guilty by a Raipur court on December 24, 2010 of committing sedition and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code as well as offences under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.
The three were also found guilty under the provisions of Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act and sentenced to five years jail term. Mr. Sanyal was also awarded 10 years imprisonment for being member of a terrorist outfit, in violation of the UAP Act.
All three had moved the Chhattisgarh High Court against their conviction and their appeals are still pending there.
The life sentence awarded to Binayak Sen would only accelerate the process of debasement of democracy and the rule of law.
THE Raipur Sessions Court has shocked the citizen’s conscience by delivering a judgment that makes a mockery of fundamental rights. The judgment against human rights defender and health activist Binayak Sen has brought unprecedented disgrace and ignominy upon India’s judicial system, and more generally, upon Indian society and politics. It will take a Herculean effort to roll back the personal, institutional, social and political damage that the verdict has caused. Merely overturning it in a higher court will not be enough.
Awarding life imprisonment to someone charged with an offence no greater than that of passing on letters from an undertrial prisoner to an allegedly extremist group’s leaders should appear altogether revolting to a civilised mind. This violates the principle of proportionality between crime and punishment (or provocation and reprisal).
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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By systematically persecuting Dr Binayak Sen, a tireless champion of human rights and the rights of adivasis and workers, the Indian state is sending a strong message to civil society about the price of not toeing the line.
Raja bola raat hai,
mantri bola raat hai,
court bola raat hai,
ye subah subah ki baat hai!
(The king said it was night. The minister said it was night. The court said it was night. It was early morning!)
On 24 Dec 2010, the District Court in Raipur in Chhattisgarh state of central India sentenced Dr Binayak Sen to life imprisonment. Given the flimsy nature of the evidence, to most it came as a shock; to the Indian state seeking to silence dissenting human rights activists and social workers, it was shot in the arm.
Targeting Dr Binayak Sen, a well-known civil rights and public health activist, has wide implications for democracy and civil rights in India. Dr. Sen is the National Vice President of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of the most respected civil liberties organizations in India founded by late Jaya Prakash Narayan during the 1975-77 internal Emergency, the worst era in the history of post-independence India. Dr Sen’s work in the area of public health is well known; in fact, he was a part of the group which set up the Mitanin rural health care system for Chhattisgarh twenty years ago when the state was still under formation. He is a man for whose bail, twenty two Nobel laureates had appealed. For whose release, the British House of Commons had issued a motion.
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‘Release Dr.Binayak Sen Committee’ is now ‘A Committee For The Defense Of Democratic Rights In Chhattisgarh’.
3.To invite Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj and/or Mr. Himanshu, and Dr. Binayak Sen if possible to address a public meeting in Pune as early as possible (end of July or 1st week of August at the latest.)
R.P.Nene, Shanta Ranade, Dr. Anant Phadke, Dr. Abhay Shukla, Dr. Suhas Kolhekar, Shailesh Dikhale and Milind Chavan
Doubtless as it is a victory for the human rights movement, civil society must salute the Supreme Court for its intervention that coincided with the assumption to power of a new national dispensation. The release on bail of Dr Binayak Sen (coram: Katju and Verma, JJ) carries a very timely and resounding message for the Chhattisgarh government and to an equal degree the Centre that for the past two years had ignored appeals from the world over for his release. Of particular interest must be what he has had to say after stepping out as a free man. He fears vindictive action by the Chhattisgarh government. To indulge in a fresh bout of repression will be as criminal as detaining him for the better part of two years without trial and without convincing evidence. Yes, he used to visit the jail, but as a doctor to treat the inmates many of whom were/are Maoists. The Chhattisgarh government has violated the law, doubtless encouraged by the imperviousness of the national government.
As a physician, Dr Sen has now ripped apart the grotesque abuse of human rights through the jail’s institutionalised bribery. The inmates have to bribe medical assistants for an injection, doctors do a favour by feeling the patient’s pulse and the medical fraternity has to be paid to be recommended for hospital admission. Dr Sen makes an understatement when he laments that “there is no human dignity in jail”. The subtext is a travesty of medical ethics, the Hippocratic oath and all that therein is. All this and more as part of the state’s counter-mobilisation against the Left radical. Dr Sen’s alleged offence of handing over one Maoist’s letter to another, while on a professional visit to the jail hospital, is small beer compared to the contrived and criminal indifference of the doctors. Despite successive victories in the elections to the state assembly, Dr Sen’s detention has been a blot on the BJP’s image, as damaging as its reckless handling of the Maoist movement. Quite the most suicidal option was the creation of Salwa Judum, a state-sponsored resistance oufit. For every Maoist killed, two are born. Just as for every Maoist freed, the administration probably makes sure that two are clapped up. Killing the Maoist as a form of public activity and arresting without proven charge do not add up to a policy. The Chhattisgarh BJP’s handling of the Maoists has been disastrous and morally-defeating. Dr Binayak Sen’s plight symbolises state repression.
in New Delhi
The Supreme Court directive to release Dr. Binayak Sen on bail raises the question of the illegality of his detention .
THE Supreme Court’s direction on May 25 to release Dr. Binayak Sen, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), on bail from the Raipur Central Jail marks a milestone in the history of the civil liberties movement in India. Never before has the bail plea of an individual unjustly kept in prison been the subject of such an intense campaign by intellectuals and activists across the world.
The campaign seeking Sen’s freedom intensified after 22 Nobel Prize winners, including Amartya Sen, signed a public statement on May 9 last year describing him as a “professional colleague” and appealing to the President and the Prime Minister to ensure his release so that he could receive in person the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in Washington. The helplessness of the Centre, and the refusal of the Chhattisgarh government to oblige only indicated that the struggle for Sen’s freedom could be long and daunting.
Dr Binayak Sen was granted bail on the 25th of May, 2009. In the midst of our celebrations that the illegal detention of Dr. Sen is over, some clarification is needed. One question doing the rounds is whether
- Binayak was granted bail on medical grounds?
No it was a general BAIL without any conditions on furnishing personal bonds.
Please read below the piece I wrote initially as a reply to Antara Dev Sen’s article published in the Decan Chronicle, but then developed as an independent note.
By Dr. Mookhi Amir Ali
Dr. Binayak Sen will now be out on bail but not without celebrating the second anniversary of his needless detention. He was detained under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Under these laws a person can be detained for flimsy reasons with no provision of bail. This is not the only law in our book which can be used by the Government to harass a citizen who is inconvenient to them. Dr Binayak in addition to being a good and benevolent doctor is a conscientious human rights activist who was blowing whistles on Chhattisgarh government sponsored Salwa Judam’s illegal killings of innocent tribals. The incarceration which the doctor has suffered was the “reward” the government of Chhattisgarh was giving him for his aggressive activism. Salwa Judam, whose misdeeds Dr. Sen was fighting against, has received strong disapproval of the Supreme Court of India.
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The Hindu - Editorial
It is a symptom of the troubled times Indian democracy is passing through that the release on bail of an eminent human rights activist and medical practitioner, Dr. Binayak Sen — something that is routine for even individuals of questionable repute accused or convicted of heinous crimes — should be an occasion for relief and joy. Nobody is questioning the right of the State police to file a case and to have insisted on the custody of Dr. Sen when evidence first surfaced about his alleged involvement with the banned Maoist party. But the denial of bail was mean and vindictive and intended to serve no purpose other than to punish the accused by the sheer weight of process — he spent two years in a Chhattisgarh prison. Certainly there was no question of Dr. Sen fleeing, since he had voluntarily turned himself in for questioning when he first learned the police were looking for him. The fact remains that none of the witnesses the police produced before court were able to corroborate the official charges. No wonder it took just two minutes for the Supreme Court to set him free on bail.
Welcome though the release of Dr. Sen is, it is essential that public attention continue to remain focussed on the appalling state of affairs in Chhattisgarh. The State government’s vigilante anti-insurgency campaign known as Salwa Judum is currently under the scanner, thanks to a PIL pending before the Supreme Court. A specially commissioned report by the National Human Rights Commission has catalogued scores of gross human rights violations and the apex court, by way of interim instructions, has asked the State authorities to provide compensation to the victims of Salwa Judum and facilitate their rehabilitation. Not only has the Raman Singh government dragged its feet on this crucial matter, it has also targeted the activists and the NGOs that are trying to help the internally displaced tribals who want to return to their native villages. On May 16, for example, the State authorities demolished the premises of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada run by the respected Gandhian, Himanshu. The pattern that is emerging from the State’s actions is very clear: Chhattisgarh does not intend to tolerate any criticism of its policies. It is imperative for the re-establishment of the rule of law and the protection of the basic rights of the people that Salwa Judum is abandoned so that the tens of thousands of people whose homes and livelihood have been destroyed by the cycle of vigilante and Maoist violence are given a chance to return home.