Jailed Delhi University professor GN Saibaba got a temporary breather on Tuesday when the Bombay High Court granted him bail to undergo medical treatment. Saibaba, who had been arrested in May 2014 by the Maharashtra police for alleged Maoist links, has been in jail since then.
The court on Tuesday observed that it would fail in its duty to protect Saibaba's fundamental rights if it didn't grant him bail for treatment for his failing health. They gave him three months' bail on personal bond of Rs 50,000.
“If extraordinary powers enshrined under Article 226 is not exercised, this court will be failing in its duty to protect the fundamental rights of professor G N Saibaba, professor of English at Delhi University. Therefore, this court is inclined to direct respondents (jail authorises) to release him for three months for medical treatment and support of his family,” Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S B Shukre observed in court.
The English professor has been in the Nagpur Central Prison but needs his family support, who are based in Delhi. Activist Purnima Upadhyay had written a letter highlighting Saibaba's failing health condition. He was wheeled into court for assistance for his bail hearing as he had dislocated his shoulder. His right hand is already crippled due to a spinal problem.
Though the court had earlier asked prison authorities to shift Saibaba to a hospital of his choice, the government facilities are not equipped to treat him, his counsel has claimed. Despite the public prosecutor's concerns that Saibaba might tamper with evidence if given bail, court deemed that he should be allowed to seek proper medical treatment.
"We are satisfied that if Saibaba is not released on temporary bail for medical treatment then there is a chance that his life will be at risk," the judges observed.