ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bail and a Life of Dignity

The saga of G N Saibaba's arrest, merely on grounds that he was a member of a banned organisation, and his continued incarceration despite having 90% disability, raises a number of questions about our criminal justice system in general and the treatment of bail applications, in particular.

In May 2014, the Maharashtra police arrested G N Saibaba, a professor teaching at the Delhi University, on charges that he was a member of a banned organisation. He was arrested under various Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012 (a statute under which the release of a person on bail is extremely difficult). Saibaba is a 90% disabled person with multiple and serious health issues. While in jail he needed assistance even to carry out daily ablutions. Though he required urgent medical treatment which was not being provided, the government kept informing the courts that he was being provided with the best of treatments. After investigations in the chargesheet filed against him the only allegation was that Saibaba was a member of a banned organisation.

Time and again the Supreme Court and various high courts have held that merely being a member of a banned organisation is not an offence. Despite these assertions and his deteriorating medical condition, Saibaba was refused bail by the trial court and the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

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