The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejected the emergency parole plea of former Delhi University professor GN Saibaba, PTI reported. Saibaba had filed the plea saying that he wanted to attend his mother’s post-funeral rituals.
However, the court ordered the Nagpur jail authorities to make necessary arrangements for Saibaba to talk to his family via video conferencing on the day of the rituals.
Saibaba had sought to go to Hyderabad for the rituals. The court noted while rejecting the plea for parole that it would be difficult to assign security personnel to escort Saibaba from Nagpur to Hyderabad during the coronavirus pandemic.
Public prosecutor PK Sathianathan, appearing for the government, opposed Saibaba’s plea, saying that most of the post-funeral rituals have been completed.
Saibaba, who has 90% disability and is wheelchair bound, was arrested in May 2014 after the police in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, claimed he had links with Maoists. He was sentenced to life in prison in March 2017 and has been in the Nagpur Central Jail since.
In July, disability rights organisation National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled sought the National Human Rights Commission’s help to move Saibaba to a medical facility. Saibaba had filed a bail plea before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court citing his deteriorating health, especially given the coronavirus pandemic.
United Nations’ human rights experts had in 2019 called on the Indian government to immediately release Saibaba. The officials had said that Saibaba has been detained in “inadequate conditions of so-called ‘anda cells’, with no windows, extreme temperatures and inaccessible facilities”. The experts had added that they had contacted the Indian government several times since June 2018 to raise the matter of Saibaba’s detention and lack of facilities, but had not received any reply.