HC allows EU team to attend hearing in Binayak Sen''s case

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Bilaspur, Jan 24 (PTI) A European Union delegation wastoday allowed by the Chhattisgrah High Court to attendproceedings on the appeal of rights activist Binayak Senchallenging the life sentence imposed on him in a seditioncase.

The request of the of the EU had earlier been sent by theExternal Affairs Ministry to the Chhattisgarh government,which had in turn, referred the matter to the High Court.

When Sen''s appeal came up for hearing, a division benchcomprising justices T P Sharma and R L Jhanwar, considered thereference on the EU proposal made to it by the stategovernment and decided to allow the eight-member team towitness the proceedings.

Earlier, activists of BJP''s students'' wing ABVP protestedagainst the EU team''s visit and showed black flags, promptingthe authorities to step up security.

According to the EU, it had earlier informed the MEA thatit intended to send representatives from its Delhi-basedmissions of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary,Sweden, the UK, and the EU, to attend the court hearing.

"The EU has also expressed to the Indian authorities itsconcern about the conditions pertaining to the detention ofSen," it had said in a statement.

61-year-old Sen, a paediatrician by profession, wasconvicted for sedition and sentenced to life in prison alongwith Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessmanPiyush Guha for colluding with Maoists to establish a networkto fight the state.

Sen has already challenged in Chhattisgarh High Court thelife sentence given to him by a local court.

Officials in Raipur had said yesterday that the request ofthe EU, which was referred to the state government by the MEA,has been sent to the high court as the authorities felt thatit was up to the judges to take a view on it when the appealof Sen came up for hearing.

They had said the Centre has not issued any directive tothe state government on the matter.

Additional Advocate General Kishore Bhaduri had said thepermission of the court has to be taken to allow presence offoreign nationals at the hearing.

State BJP vice-president Sachchidanand, who is also alawyer, has criticised the request of the EU saying it wastrying the "interfere" in the due process.

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