The Defense Committee for the Release of Saibaba felt that the Bombay High Court Judgment finally did Justice to Saibaba and others who have been incarcerated for the last almost seven years. The reversal of Judgment in great hurry is a reflection on the Justice system in India.
The observation of the court that he has a powerful mind is negation of the essence of freedom of thought J. S. Mill wrote in his book on “Liberty” that “Unrestrained Freedom of Thought is the hallmark of Democracy.” Dissenting voices as Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed works as a check against the arbitrary exercise of power by the executive authority; unchecked power is like a pressure cooker which can lead to a burst at any time if the dissent is not allowed. The Judiciary must protect the freedoms of the citizens. It has to balance the freedoms of the citizens and power of the State, if they have to err it should be on the side of freedom.
The other consideration is that Saibaba; health has been in a bad shape. He suffers from several ailments. The jails in India have, instead of being reformative places, become punishing places defeating the very purpose of the idea of prison. This is what led to the deaths of Stan Swamy and Mr. Pandu Narote. This should not repeat in the case of Saibaba who has been voicing his concerns on the suffering of the marginalized sections of the society. Such human concerns increasingly lead to humanization of such society.
Dr. Saibaba is a Professor in a Prestigious University of this country. The universities are created by an Act of Parliament essentially to ensure the freedom of thought and protect from excessive interference of the executive, in the functioning of the University. It is the Judiciary which has to protect this freedom in the event of executive violating the spirit of the legislative Act.
We are deeply worried about his health and further aggravation of his 90% disabilities. We appeal to the Supreme Judicial Authority of the country to review and reconsider his case and take the Judgment of Bombay High Court into consideration and acquit him and others in this case. This would restore public confidence in the Justice system of our country.
Prof. G. Haragopal, Chairman, COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENCE AND RELEASE OF Dr. G. N. SAIBABA