The State government on Friday opposed the bail application filed by former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba before the Bombay High Court on Friday. It was submitted on behalf of the State that the wheelchair bound professor who has been kept in the Anda cell and is 90% disabled, is being given the necessary medical attention and because he is kept in a separate cell it reduces the chances of him contracting Covid-19.
Division bench of Justice ZA Haq and Justice SM Modak of the Nagpur bench were hearing the criminal appeal filed by Saibaba last month seeking suspension of sentence and/or temporary medical bail due to Covid-19.
The affidavit was filed by the sub-divisional police officer at Aheri, Gadchiroli through Special Public Prosecutor K Sathianathan, it states-
"Saibaba is an active member of the Naxalite movement and helping them in their cause. If he is released on bail he will again contact with naxal persons and he will conspire with naxal person and it will send wrong message to society."
In the appeal filed on behalf of Saibaba, it is contended that as per latest reports there are a total of 155 positive cases of Covid-19 at the said Central Prison, Nagpur which houses nearly 1800 inmates -
"The place where Applicant is lodged in Central Prison Nagpur, i.e. High Security Cell/Anda Cell, the infection has made its roadway, despite taking all possible preventive measures by the Respondent. As per the latest reports, there are 155 cases of COVID-19 infection in the prison alone, which includes inmates, prison staff and even those who are in high security cell. It is highlighted herein that the place where the applicant is lodged in that High Security Cell or Anda Cell as it is called, also got positive patients, possibility of community spread in the Prison is only matter of time."
Moreover, the appeal argues that because of the lockdown and preventive measures taken due to fear of spread of the virus, a lot of additional support that was available to Saibaba in the form of medicine, attendants, regular check up and most importantly referral to tertiary/Specialist Centre, is no more accessible or available to the applicant which places him absolutely at the mercy of nature.
As of today the applicant suffers from following admitted ailments, for which he requires round the clock attention, assistance and medication- Acute pancreatitis, Fatty Liver, Sleep Apnea, Blackouts/fainting, Dizziness, Spinning head, Difficulty in urination, burning sensation during urination, formation of painful lump inside stomach on the left side remained uninvestigated since June 2018. The blood flow in urine and motions April and May 2018, Quadriplegia, Paralytic attacks, Palpitations in chest and stomach and Cyst in the brain.
The appeal states-
"It is stated that there is no way Applicant can be given his treatment, without breaching the lockdown conditions, and exposing escort staff and applicant to the risk of the infection. The only way out therefore is to set him at large so that he along with his family and doctors of his choice can deal with his health at their own risk and perils, than to remain completely without any provision."
Also, two attendants that were provided to the applicant (Saibaba) to assist him round the clock, have withdrawn themselves from offering any services, on their own will and accord which they have been doing since past 3 years without any complaint. Attempts to convince them have failed and they do not wish to extend any further support at any cost, the appeal contends.
On March 26, 2019, High Court refused to suspend Saibaba's sentence. He was convicted and sentenced to life by a Sessions Court in Gadhchiroli on March 7, 2017. Court found Saibaba to be associated with the Revolutionary Democratic Front(RDF), which is allegedly affiliated to the banned CPI(Maoist) and held him guilty of conspiring to wage war against India and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The next date of hearing is July 28.