The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the criminal contempt proceedings against writer Arundhati Roy in connection with an article she wrote criticising the Bombay High Court for rejecting professor GN Saibaba’s bail plea. The Nagpur bench of the High Court had issued a criminal notice against Roy in December 2015 after she expressed her views on the arrest of the Delhi University professor.
The High Court had said her language in the column published in Outlook magazine was “nasty” and contained “scurrilous” remarks against the police, the state administration and the judiciary. “Calling the government and police as being ‘afraid’ of the applicant, ‘abductor’ and ‘thief’, and the magistrate from a ‘small town’, demonstrates the surly, rude and boorish attitude of the author in a most tolerant country like India,” the bench had said.
The Supreme Court had granted Saibaba bail in April 2016 because of his medical condition. In March this year, Saibaba and four others were sentenced to life in prison for allegedly having “links with Maoists” and for being “likely to indulge in anti-national activities”.
Saibaba had extensively campaigned against the Salwa Judum militia and the human rights violations that accompanied the Operation Green Hunt against Maoists, launched under the previous United Progressive Alliance government.