Supreme Court Sets Aside Bombay HC's Order Acquitting GN Saibaba In Maoist Case, Remits Matter For Another HC Bench To Consider
The Supreme Court has set aside the Bombay High Court’s Order allowing appeals against the conviction and life sentence imposed on Delhi University Professor G. N. Saibaba and others in the alleged Maoist link case. The order has been passed with the consent of all parties.
The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar has remitted the matter back to the High Court to decide it afresh on its own merits by different bench. The Court has directed the High Court to dispose of the appeal at the earliest, preferably within four months.
ASG SV Raju appeared for the appellant state of Maharashtra and Senior Advocate R. Basant appeared for convicts.
"With consent of parties, impugned common judgment is set aside. Matters remitted back to the High Court to decide afresh on its own merits, including the question of sanction. It will be open for state to contend that once the accused are convicted, on conclusion of trial, the validity of sanction with respect to one accused cannot be gone into and will become insignificant, High Court to consider such arguments on merits. All contentions of parties are kept open to be considered by High Court on merit and on the basis of evidence already on record. We request the High Court to dispose of the appeal at the earliest and preferably within a period of 4 months from receipt of the order", the Bench directed.
The bench has said that all contentions of the parties are kept open to be considered by the High Court on merit and on the basis of evidence on record.
The Court has also directed the Chief Justice of the High Court to ensure that the appeals are placed before a bench other than the bench that passed the impugned Order.
The Bombay High Court Nagpur Bench of Justice Rohit B. Deo and Justice Anil L. Pansare had acquitted Saibaba and five others in a UAPA case over the alleged Maoist link. The High Court directed immediate release on the ground that the trial was held without valid sanction in accordance with Section 45 of the UAPA.
The High Court had allowed the appeal filed by Saibaba challenging a 2017 order of the trial court convicting and sentencing him to life imprisonment.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had suspended the Bombay High Court's Judgment acquitting G. N. Saibaba in the alleged Maoist link case. The Court had also rejected the plea of Saibaba for house arrest.
"It is required to be noted that even according to the accused No. 6, the appeals were argued on merits. The High Court has not entered into merit and has not considered the order of conviction. Even otherwise, it cannot be disputed that the high court has not gone into the merits of the case or the findings of the trial court", the Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Bela Trivedi had observed while suspending the judgment of acquittal.