Supreme Court Sets Aside Bombay High Court Ruling In Case Of Political Prisoner Dr G N Saibaba

New Delhi, April 19, 2023: The Supreme Court on April 19 set aside a Bombay High Court decision to discharge political prisoner and former Delhi University professor Dr. G.N. Saibaba in a UAPA case linking him with the CPI (Maoist).

A Bench led by Justice M.R. Shah referred the case back to the High Court for a fresh look on merits. The State of Maharashtra had appealed the Supreme Court against the High Court order of October 2022.

A Sessions Court had sentenced him to life imprisonment in 2017. The High Court had agreed with Dr. Saibaba’s appeal that the Sessions Court had framed charges and tried him without obtaining sanction from the Central Government as mandated under Section 45(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

On April 19, the Bench requested the Bombay High Court Chief Justice, in the observance of propriety, to place the case for hearing before another Bench, and not the one which had discharged him.

The apex court urged the High Court to consider and decide the case expeditiously, preferably within four months.

The Supreme Court said it would be open for the State to argue in the High Court that once the accused had been convicted by the Sessions Court at the conclusion of a trial, the validity of sanction cannot be gone into by the appellate court.

Senior advocates Nitya Ramakrishnan and R. Basant, appearing for Dr. Saibaba, said they should be allowed to counter the arguments of the State in the High Court.

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