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PUCL, July 2007

High court refuses bail to Dr. Binayak Sen

UPDATE On Dr. Binayak Sen's Illegal Detention: Raipur, 23rd July, 2007 Monday

Dr. Binayak Sen's Bail Application was rejected today (23rd July 2007, Monday) at the Chhattisgarh High Court, Bilaspur. The Hon'ble Justice Sunil Kumar Sinha passed orders in the matter today at 2:30 pm in the court that since there was a prima facie case that the applicant was involved with some banned organisation, and since the investigations have yet to be completed, he was of the opinion that it would not be proper to grant bail at this stage.

It may be mentioned that the arguments were concluded in the Bail Matter on 20th July 2007 , and reserved for orders. Adv Kanak Tiwari, Senior Counsel appeared for Dr. Sen, assisted by Adv Prashant Mishra, Adv Sudha Bhardwaj, Adv Vimlesh Bajpai. Additional Advocate General, Mr. Pramod Verma had appeared for the State.

According to Adv Prashant Mishra, the junior counsel for Adv Kanak Tiwari, who read the orders in the Court, it appears that the bail application was rejected on the following principal counts as per the reasoning contained therein. We quote below some of the ingredients of the said order.

1. Letters seized from Mr. Piyush Guha are written by Mr. Narayan Sanyal for his specimen handwriting tallied with the letters;

2. Though they are addressed as "dear P" and "dear V" it divulges that certain unlawful activities were/are being carried out.

3. Dr Sen associated with Narayan Sanyal and met him frequently.

4. As per the statement of one Goppana (a Commander of the CPI-Maoists, arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police in the month of May 2007) Mr. Narayan Sanyal was a member of the politburo and a naxalite associated in a variety of unlawful activities.

5. Thus prima facie case of association against Dr. Sen also by the virtue of those letters.

6. Moreover, investigations are still on.

7. Case laws and instances of bail having been granted under Acts like TADA and MACOCA do not apply because there are provisions under such acts imposing restrictions on grant of bail; and since under the statutes presently under consideration there are no such restrictions, general principles of Cr.P.C. applies and therefore grant of bail not permissible as there may be further evidences."

(Note: This reasoning is, on the face of it, erroneous and perverse, for if under stringent enactments bail can be granted by courts, on the considerations of general principles it should be granted more and more. It appears that a majority of the arguments raised during the hearing by senior counsel Adv. Kanak Tiwari have not been adhered to and not met.)

The PUCL, and several other human rights and people's organisations are quite disappointed with this order, and would definitely go in appeal to the Supreme Court of India.
The Chhattisgarh PUCL has termed this order of the Chhattisgarh High Court as "unfortunate" as the Court has not appreciated all the material facts and evidence of the case as presented by Adv Kanak Tiwari, the legal counsel for Dr. Binayak Sen during the arguments. A critical and true appraisal of the decision will be possible only after the text of the judgment is available tomorrow. In the mean time, PUCL office-bearers and legal luminaries are being consulted for future strategy and agenda.

The PUCL-Chhattisgarh unit has organized a meeting of the State Executive Committee, along with other organisations and individuals committed to democratic and peaceful processes, to take stock of the alarming situation in Chhattisgarh with regard to ruthless use of repressive laws and anti-democratic actions of the State Government and, in turn, formulate future strategy and action plan to defend democracy and restore the rule of law.

-- Rajendra K Sail President (Mobile: 098268-04519)


People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014