Binayak Sen was today granted bail by the Supreme Court which observed that no case of sedition was made out against the rights activist who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chhatisgarh court.
“No case of sedition is made out,” a bench comprising justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad observed while granting bail to 61-year-old Sen,who was also held guilty by a trial court in Chhattisgarh for helping naxalites to set up a network.
Sen has challenged his conviction and life sentence before the Chhattisgarh High Court which had refused to suspend the punishment pending the appeal.
The bench,which preferred not to give any reasons for granting bail,said,”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 said,perusing the affidavit filed by the Chhattisgarh government opposing his bail.
“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.
“Is it like that if someone has got the autobiography of (Mahatma) Gandhi at his home he will be called a Gandhian. Is that your logic that having documents and pamphlets on Maoists and Naxalites at his (Sen’s) house (makes him an outlaw),” the bench said.
Some of Sen’s family members including his wife Elina were present in the courtroom along with some right activists when the order granting bail to him was pronounced.
However,members of European Union,who were present in the previous hearing,could not be seen in the visitors’ gallery of the courtroom.
At the outset,senior advocate Ram Jethmalani,appearing for Sen,said that the conviction for sedition was untenable and illegal in the face of law and the trial court judgement did not comply with any requirement of law.
He said before the trial,the apex court had released him on bail and there was no misconduct on his part and questioned the allegations made by the state government in its affidavit.
Chhattisgarh Government,in its affidavit,had said Sen should not be granted any relief as he has “deep links” with hardcore Naxalites and was providing active support and co-ordination in spreading the base of CPI-Maoist in the country.
“Apart from providing logistic support,he exchanges information and material directly and indirectly with the Naxalites in the areas of Chhattisgarh,West Bengal,Andhra Pradesh,Maharashtra,Bihar,Jharkhand and Orissa and propagates Naxal ideology,” the affidavit had said.
It had said documents and pamphlets recovered from Sen’s house suggest he was actively associated with the Naxalites and he visited his co-accused Piyush Guha 33 times in the jail.