New Delhi:The Supreme Court Friday granted bail to human rights activist Binayak Sen, who is undergoing life imprisonment in a Chhattisgarh jail on charges of sedition and links with Maoists.
No case for sedition was made out against Sen, the apex court bench of Justice H.S. Bedi and Justice C.K. Prasad said while making a scathing observation that a person does not become a Gandhian just because he is found with a biography of Mahatma Gandhi.
The bench said the bail would be subject to the satisfaction of the trial court. The court ridiculed the state’s submission that Sen was actively involved in spreading disharmony and disaffection against the state.
The court said that even if the state government’s contention that Sen was in the possession of banned material and was involved in its circulation was true, it did not justify the charge of sedition. Mocking at the contention of the state government, the court said that if a biography of Mahatma Gandhi is recovered from a person that did not make him a Gandhian.
Sen, 61, at present in a jail in the Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, had challenged the Feb 10 order of the Chhattisgarh High Court rejecting his bail plea.
He was sentenced by the trial court Dec 24, 2010, for sedition. He was accused of acting as a courier between Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata-based businessman Piyush Guha, both of whom have also been jailed for life.
The state government, in its reply to Sen’s petition in the high court, said he “has the same ideology as that of CPI-Maoist (Communist Party of India-Maoist) and he is addressed as a comrade by hardcore Naxalites (Maoists)”.
“He provides active support and co-ordinates in spreading the base of CPI-Maoist in the country. For hardcore Naxalites, he arranges safe hideouts by arranging house on rent, helps open bank account, helps in getting employment to conceal identity and provides employment by incorporating trusts.”
The Chhattisgarh government claimed Sen was helping the Maoists in building “urban network and sympathisers”.