Aruna Roy on Binayak Sen's release
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan founder, Ramon Magsaysay award winner and National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy welcomed the Supreme Court's order to grant bail to Dr Binayak Sen jailed on charges of sedition and called "the good Doctor" an icon of free speech.
Rupashree Nanda: MKSS was one of the organisations that strongly protested the conviction and denial of bail by the Supreme Court. What is your first response to the Supreme Court order of granting bail?
Aruna Roy: I am very happy, relieved because the Supreme Court has also commented on the sedition aspect of the charge sheet against him and his conviction. It's a great relief to human rights activists all over the country. It's a great fillip for the fight against injustice and gives us hope that the courts will deliver. Basically, it is faith and hope that Indian democracy will deliver.
Rupashree Nanda: Did you expect the Supreme Court to grant him bail? What signal has the Supreme Court has sent (by granting him a bail)?
Aruna Roy: Binayak had become a symbol for many of us. There are thousands of people in India who are held illegally, illegitimately for acts they did not commit. It has given rise to hope that the legal system will deliver and that is crucial. Without the belief that the judicial system would deliver, democracy will not function. It's a very strong message. We do hope that there will be some inward looking from the Supreme Court to the District Court that have to be away from political influence and our judgment should be based on the law and on the evidence you collect, not on the kind of political biases you have. And I think this message has gone clearly. We do hope there will be a lot of discussion on this issue among themselves and the judiciary really looks at it as one of their great successes in so far the supreme Court is concerned and, a great failure where the High Court is concerned.
Rupashree Nanda: Was it tough to support Binayak especially after the High Court refused him bail?
Aruna Roy: It is amazing that Binayak has become an icon in many places, in circles that are not his, an icon of free speech, of the freedom to express oneself and freedom to political decision in a democracy. So, on the contrary, the High Court refusal for bail to many people who had read the order of the court that sentenced him was the failure of the courts over judicial knowledge and the courts' own inability to see the illogic of the sentence that was passed on him. In one sense, for many people the issue was reversed. They began to doubt the veracity of the Indian judiciary. I think it is very good that the Supreme Court has come out of it and re-established the common sense sensibility of the Court.
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