The Supreme Court will hear on Friday the bail plea of civil rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sedition and links with Naxalites.
Mr. Sen, 61, has challenged the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court, which had rejected his bail plea on February 10.
A professional doctor and a pass-out of Vellore’s Christian Medical College (CMC), Mr. Sen has sought bail contending that the trial court has erred in convicting him when there was no substantial evidence against him.
A bench of justices H.S. Bedi and C. K. Prasad had on April 11 deferred the hearing after Chhattisgarh government sought more time to argue its case.
In the last hearing, family members of Mr. Sen, PUCL activists, and two members of the European Union, who have been monitoring the case, were present in the court.
Opposing Mr. Sen’s bail plea, the state government in its affidavit had said that the activist should not be granted any relief as he has deep links with hardcore Naxalites.
“He (Sen) provides active support and co-ordinates in spreading the base of CPI-Maoist in the country. Apart from providing logistic support, he exchanges information and material directly and indirectly with the Naxalites in the area of Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa and propagates Naxal ideology,” the affidavit filed by the state government said.
According to the state government, Mr. Sen helped Naxal leaders in arranging accommodation in Raipur and through his wife Elina Sen also helped open bank accounts of Naxalites Shankar Singh and Amita Shrivastava.
Mr. Sen, vice-president of People’s Union of Civil Liberties, was convicted for sedition and sentenced to life imprisonment along with Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha for colluding with the Maoists to establish a network to fight the state.
Mr. Sen’s conviction and sentence had led to outrage in many quarters, including international human rights bodies which has sought government’s permission to observe the court proceedings in the case.
Keywords: Binayak Sen trial