The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to prominent civil rights activist Dr Binayak Sen who has been in a jail in Chhattisgarh for more than two years for allegedly colluding with Naxalites.
A vacation bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Deepak Verma directed that Sen be released forthwith on his producing a personal bond to the satisfaction of the trial court hearing the case pending against him.
The bench did not allow senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for Chattisgarh government, to put forward his arguments against granting bail to Sen who is also a doctor.
"Thank you, please sit down," the bench remarked twice when Rohtagi tried to oppose bail. The bench turned down the senior counsel's plea that the state wanted to point to certain facts on the issue and as to why it was opposing the bail.
Senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Sen, also did not get any opportunity to present his arguments as the bench ordered his release.
On May 4, the apex court, while issuing notice to the state government on Sen's plea for release, had asked it to ensure adequate medical aid to the civil liberties activists who has been suffering from heart ailments.
Sen, who has been in custody since May 14, 2007, has contended that there was no evidence against him to be booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Chhattisgarh government has accused Sen, who is the vice-president of the People's Union of Civil Liberties, of acting as a courier for an alleged naxalite who is in jail.
It was alleged that he had passed on certain letters to the naxalite leader lodged in a Chattisgarh jail while visiting the prison as a doctor. Besides pleading that he has been in jail for over two years, Sen has sought bail on medical grounds, saying he had been suffering from a heart ailment and needs treatment at Christian Medical College, Vellore in Tamil Nadu.
Sen had submitted that since the chargesheet against him has already been filed, no purpose would be served by his continued detention in the prison.