THE Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday rejected the writ petition of activist G N Saibaba, challenging the Nagpur Divisional Commissioner’s rejection of his parole application.
Saibaba, incarcerated in the Nagpur Central Prison for over three years after being convicted of alleged Maoist links by a Gadchiroli court on March 7, 2017, had applied for parole on the ground that his mother was ailing with cancer at Hyderabad and he wanted to be with her.
Divisional Commissioner Sanjiv Kumar had rejected his application on April 24 on three grounds — his mother stayed in Jawahar Nagar, a containment zone in Hyderabad, his brother and wife were with her to take care of her, and there was a chance of Saibaba jumping parole.
In raising the last point, Kumar had cited Bombay Parole Furlough rules 1959 (Rule 4, sub-rule 13,18 and 20). Sub-rule 13 is for granting parole to life convicts if they have spent more than three years in jail after conviction. Sub-rule 18 is about parole eligibility on the basis of all-India repercussions of granting parole to the convict and sub-rule 20 discusses eligibility on the basis of chances of the convict jumping parole.
A division bench comprising Justices R K Deshpande and Amit Borkar, while dismissing Saibaba’s plea, considered only the ground of rejection that the Hyderabad police commissioner had given in an affidavit, that the area where Saibaba’s mother resided was a containment zone. The court refused to consider the other points for rejection.
The bench also granted liberty to Saibaba’s lawyer Mihir Desai to approach it for parole again after the lockdown restrictions are removed by the Hyderabad Police. “It shall be open for the petitioner to apply afresh after lockdown is over and the area is declared free from the containment zone,” the bench said.
Desai also argued that the possibility of Saibaba contracting coronavirus in the central prison can’t be ruled out. Special counsel for the state Prashant Sathianathan, however, said that Saibaba had been put in a separate room and care is being taken to safeguard him against any infection.
Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor, is 90 per cent disabled and is wheel-chair bound. His frequent bail pleas on health ground have been rejected several times earlier.
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