The Supreme Court, hearing a bail plea of jailed Delhi University professor G N Saibaba who is facing trial for his alleged Maoist links, today asked a Maharashtra trial court to conduct day-to-day trial in the case and examine eight key prosecution witnesses in a month.
The bench comprising justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan also said it may consider granting bail after the trial court examines key witnesses.
Meanwhile, it asked all the accused including Saibaba to cooperate with the prosecution during the trial. It also asked the counsel for the state government to point out the factual position of the trial on April 4, the next date of hearing.
"We have perused the counter affidavit and additional affidavit filed by the state of Maharashtra. We have also heard the counsel for the petitioner. It emerges out that out of total 34 witnesses, cited by the prosecution, some of the material witnesses have been examined and eight material witnesses are yet to be examined," the bench said.
Hinting that it may consider granting bail at a later stage, the court asked the trial court at Gadchiroli in Maharashtra to conduct day-to-day trial from March 4 and conclude recording of statements of eight key witnesses by April 4.
Earlier, the court had asked the Maharashtra government to look for an alternative arrangement to house the jailed professor.
We want the state to make him comfortable, the bench had said, while also directing the state to provide sufficient medical facilities to him.
Wheel chair-bound Saibaba is lodged in the Nagpur jail.
Prior to this, the apex court, on another plea of author Arundhati Roy, had refused to stay a criminal contempt notice issued by the Bombay High Court against her for an article in a weekly magazine questioning the continued incarceration of Saibaba.
The Bombay High Court had on December 23, 2015 issued the contempt notice against the author, for her views on Saibaba's arrest and rejection of his bail plea early last year.
Gadchiroli Police had arrested Saibaba in 2014 for his alleged links with Maoists. He has been on bail since June last year.
Roy had expressed her views on the arrest in an article published in a weekly magazine last year.