Monday, December 4, 2023

Bombay HC rejects Hany Babu’s bail plea, says “prime facie conspired”

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The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the bail plea filed by Delhi University’s associate professor and a vocal anti-caste crusade Hany Babu, an undertrial prisoner in the 2017 Elgar Parishad case.

The court noted prima facie allegations against Babu were true and that he was an active and prominent member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

A division bench of Justices N M Jamdar and N R Borkar said the appeal filed Babu against the special court order refusing him bail was dismissed.

“….we find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the Appellant are prima facie true,” the judgment said.

The court had concluded the hearing on Babu’s plea on August 29 before reserving its verdict.

The court observed: “Having considered the totality of the material on record indicating accusations against the appellant, we find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations of the NIA against the appellant having conspired, attempted, advocated and abetted the commission of a terrorist act/s and the act/s of preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act, are prima facie true.”

“In view of the seriousness of the conspiracy, the threat that it poses and the role of the appellant in it, the arguments of the appellant based on educational qualifications and his conduct, cannot be considered…We do not find any error or perversity committed by the Special Judge. The appeal is dismissed,” the division bench of Justices N M Jamdar and N R Borkar held, Indian Express reported.

In his appeal in the High Court, Babu said there was no evidence against him to suggest that he had intended to support or supported activities causing disaffection against India and there was no material to charge him under the UAPA for terrorist activities.

Hany Babu was arrested on July 28, 2020, in the case and is currently lodged at the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

Months ago, Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s most famous public intellectuals and the 90-year-old Professor Emeritus from MIT had said that the Professor Babu’s case is one egregious example of a clamp down on freedom of expression by the increasingly authoritarian Narendra Modi government.

Hany Babu is well-known for his work on linguistics, caste oppression and reservation in Indian universities. His articles include ‘Breaking the Chaturvarna System of Languages’, ‘Converging struggles and diverging interests: A look at the recent unrest in universities’ and ‘Unequal rights: Freedom, equality, life and liberty of citizens and “others”.’

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