Acting on a writ petition filed by Dandapani Mohanty seeking status as a political prisoner, Orissa High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the State Government.
The division bench of Chief Justice AK Goel and Justice AK Ratha directed the Government to file counter affidavits within four weeks.
Mohanty, who has been arrested on charges of Maoist links and extremist activities, has sought to be treated as a political prisoner. He has claimed to have started off as a socialist to go on to embrace Marxism and become a member of CPM. He is the convenor of the Daman Pratirodh Manch, a forum for movement against police and administration suppression of poor farmers and tribals, he stated.
Mohanty said he was chosen as one of the interlocutors during the kidnap of former Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna by Naxals and played a key role in securing his release. The cases lodged against him are purely political in nature, he submitted.
The petitioner further stated that he had applied to the Jailor of R Udaygiri sub-jail, where he is lodged, under Rule-837 of the Prisons Manual but no action has been taken. The petitioner has been in jail custody since February 8 this year.
Till a decision is taken by the trial court, he may be kept separate and treated as a political prisoner, he has submitted.