New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted
bail to alleged Maoist sympathiser Piyush Guha wondering
whether a call for a revolution to reform the society could be
treated as an offence.
"A large number of material and news come to us.
Similarly, such material come to you and this person also. If
that is his ideology and he says revolution is the only way to
reform society, can we say that is an offence?” a vacation
bench of justices GS Singhvi and CK Prasad said.
The apex court made the remarks after senior counsel UU
Lalit, appearing for Chhattisgarh government, opposed the bail
on ground that Guha was an active sympathiser of Maoists and
there were a large number of material and pamphlets to link
him to the banned organisation.
The bench said mere possession of certain material
cannot be a ground for convicting a person.
"Apart from these documents, are there any other
material? Possession of papers is not an offence. We can`t go
on the basis of mere surmises and conjectures", the bench
Lalit submitted the state had material to show that
Guha, besides being a Maoist sympathiser, had eulogised the
killing of policemen by Naxalites and was also an accused in
the Purulia arms drop case in West Bengal.
Lalit said the state had seized pamphlets to prove
that Maoists had said that Guha had done a "commendable job"
for the organisation.
"It is very difficult to give a definite meaning to the
word commendable. It is said in different context and
perspective. Also, it differs in meaning from person to
Courts cannot convict a person unless there is evidence.
Except possession of material, there is no other evidence,"
the bench said while proceeding to grant bail to Guha.
"Although this court does not interfere in the grant of
bail when co-accused Binayak Sen has been granted bail by
this court, the sentence imposed by the trial court is
suspended. Petitioner is directed to be released on bail on
furnishing Rs two lakh with two sureties of Rs one lakh each",
the bench said in its order.