The Supreme Court on Monday deferred hearing rightsactivist Dr. Binayak Sen's petition seeking bail and suspension of the life sentence awarded to him by a trial court and confirmed by the Chattisgarh High Court on charges of conspiracy to commit sedition and providing assistance to those said to be Naxalites.
A Bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and C.K. Prasad posted the petition for hearing to April 18 on a request for adjournment made by counsel for the Chhattisgarh government.
On March 11, the Bench issued notice to the State on the Special Leave Petition filed by Dr. Sen against the High Court order refusing to grant him bail during the pendency of the hearing of his appeal against the trial court's verdict.
In his petition, Dr. Sen said he was granted bail by the Supreme Court even when he faced charges of waging a war against the Government of India and being a member of a terror organisation.
He was acquitted of both charges.
The petition raised some important questions of law, including whether the petitioner, to whom not even one specific act of violence was attributed and whose purely legitimate associations with other persons whose criminal antecedents were essentially hypothetical, be held accountable for escalating violence in Chhattisgarh, merely on unsubstantiated prosecution claim? “What activities would constitute sedition in the light of a judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court…that an action would constitute sedition only when it causes violence?
Justifying the impugned judgment, Chhattisgarh said Dr. Sen harboured hardcore Naxalites and arranged safe hideouts for hiding Naxals rather than informing the police.