Rights groups write to CJI on suspension of Saibaba acquittal

As many as 19 groups have addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud requesting that he reconsider the apex court’s suspension of the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench’s order acquitting scholar and professor GN Saibaba in a Maoist-link case in which he was serving a life sentence in Nagpur jail.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Wednesday, December 07, 2022, 04:38 AM IST
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Prof G N Saibaba case | File Photo

Mumbai: As many as 19 groups have addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud requesting that he reconsider the apex court’s suspension of the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench’s order acquitting scholar and professor GN Saibaba in a Maoist-link case in which he was serving a life sentence in Nagpur jail.

In the letter dated December 5, Scholars at Risk Network joined with these groups to express “grave concern” for the wellbeing of Professor Saibaba and asked to reconsider its decision and reinstate the HC’s order.

The letter read, “The UAPA is purportedly intended to prevent acts of terrorism and other national security threats; however, it frequently has been used to punish or suppress non-violent acts of expression, association, and other human rights by scholars, human rights activists and other dissidents. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Professor Saibaba’s detention resulted from the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs.”

It stated further that the facts suggest that Professor Saibaba was subject to arrest, prosecution, and detention in retaliation for his nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association—conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.

The groups which signed the letter are Scholars at Risk, International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India, Freedom Now, Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH), Southern Illinois Democratic Socialists of America (USA), Hindus for Human Rights (USA), India Labor Solidarity (UK), Coalition for Justice in India (UK), Indian Workers Association (GB), South Asia Solidarity Group (UK), Turbine Bagh, London, Stichting the London Story, Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance (UK), The Humanism Project (Australia), India Justice Project (Germany), Free Saibaba Coalition – US, Coalition Against Fascism in India, Jericho Movement Boston and India Civil Watch International.

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