On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court rejected the bail petition of former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba for 45 days on medical grounds.

SaibabaFile photo/PTI
news Appeal Thursday, July 30, 2020 - 16:28

Describing the Bombay High Court’s decision to reject the bail petition of jailed academic GN Saibaba as ‘extremely apathetic’, his wife Vasantha Kumari on Wednesday appealed to people everywhere, demanding the release of the political prisoner, who is a wheelchair user. GN Saibaba, who lives with 90% physical disability, is a former professor from Delhi University, imprisoned for life for his alleged Maoist links. 

Vasantha appealed to activists to demand the security of Saibaba’s life as per the Nelson Mandela Rules, the United Nations’ standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners.

On Tuesday, the Nagpur Bench of the High Court, comprising Justices AS Chandurkar and Amit Borkarwas rejected the bail petition of Saibaba for 45 days on medical grounds, despite pointing out that Saibaba’s mother is on her deathbed suffering from lymphoma cancer.

Vasantha said that the prosecution suggested that since there is already one younger brother taking care and visiting the ailing mother, it does not merit Saibaba’s release.

“Even in this dire condition, it does not look like the Honourable Court will allow Dr Saibaba to see his mother for the final time and mourn her circumstances,” Vasantha lamented.

Vasantha took exception to the Bench “casually dismissing” the health concerns of Saibaba. 

“They (the Bench) say he has not tested positive and is being kept in the highly confined Anda Cell (a block at the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune) where he cannot contract the disease. They also say that he has been provided two helpers. Now, in the volatile environment of COVID-19 breakout in prison, he gets his meals and help from outside sources, beyond the so-called ‘COVID-19 safe’ cell. So clearly, it’s not a contained zone,” Vasantha said.

She further said that Saibaba, in his phone conversations, told her that he has been living in unhygienic conditions without anyone to support his basic needs and requirements.

The helpers who have volunteered to help Saibaba are being coerced despite submitting multiple applications to the jail authorities against volunteering, she said.

Vasantha also said that the court has not provided the family any of his multiple medical documents and reports from his frequent trips, often emergency ones, to the hospital. 

“We have no way to get the reports and verify it with our family doctors and consultants. Moreover, we do not even know the conclusion of these reports. They were not even provided to the patient in question when he wanted to enquire about his health,” Saibaba’s wife wrote.

According to Vasantha, the last time she accessed the medical reports of her husband was in 2018, when a cyst was identified in Saibaba’s brain. 

She said that the doctors from the Government Hospital had previously specified a treatment routine, including physiotherapy. However, it could not be conducted within the jail premises, she alleged.

“The prosecution still claims that he is being provided treatment, but in that case, the treatment is not stabilizing his health condition. His health sees no improvement, evidenced from his frequent trips to the medical bay in jail as well as to the hospital,” she said.

On July 11, Saibaba told Vasantha that he is unable to move his left hand and even his right hand constantly shivers. “He has been getting frequent black outs and fainting spells, alongside with his severe back and body aches. Since we do not have any reassurance from the words of the prosecution claiming his alleged well-being and condition, we requested for the scans and reports from the government hospitals in order to consult with our personal medical consultants, a request which was not granted,” Vasantha bemoaned.  

“The court's decision to reject Dr Saibaba’s bail in this condition is an extremely apathetic decision. On his phone call, he told us that if he does get COVID-19, they will not help him at all. No one in the barrack will come close to him and he cannot survive on his own, without the helping hand of inmates. He said that they will leave him to die in that scenario,” Vasantha said.

Vasantha also pointed out the contradiction in the bail being granted to supporters of the ruling dispensation like Swami Aseemanand and MP Pragya Thakur while her husband, a person with disability, is languishing in jail. 

Three different ways to become a TNM member - check them out now!.