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SC releases Varun Gandhi on parole

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 16, 2009 12:38 IST
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In a conditional reprieve for detained BJP leader Varun Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered his release on parole for two weeks after he gave an undertaking to Etah jail authorities that he will not make inflammatory speeches.

The apex court imposed a stringent condition that 29-year-old Varun, held under the National Security Act, will not make any speech against a community, religion, race and disturb public order during the period of parole.

"Having regard to the facts and circumstances, we are inclined to release him on parole for two weeks on condition that he will give an undertaking before the superintendent of Etah Jail that he will not make such speeches during the parole, which is likely to cause communal disturbance and hatred among any caste and community," a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.

The bench also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal said Varun will not disturb public sentiments during the period of parole.

Varun would also have to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the like amount before the Pilibhit District Magistrate, it said.

The apex court directed the BJP leader to give an undertaking to Etah Jail authorities that he will not make any "inflammatory or provocative speech that causes communal disharmony".

The bench said after his release, Varun will give an identical undertaking before the apex court.

At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Varun, placed before the bench an affidavit signed by the BJP leader from the jail about his undertaking in response to the previous order of the apex court on April 13.

However, the Uttar Pradesh counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve objected to the manner in which the undertaking was placed, saying he has not received the text of the undertaking and the matter was of sensitive nature.

The bench was also not satisfied with the affidavit of Varun and said that the contents of the undertaking cannot be of his choice.

"We will give the nature of the undertaking to be filed by Varun," the bench said.

"This is not sufficient. You should indicate what sort of undertaking you are giving," the bench said.

Salve said the authorities are of the view that Varun is still a threat to public order.

He said that the state government opposed his release on parole on the basis of this undertaking.

Salve referred to the affidavit given by the Kalyan Singh government in 1992 on the issue of disputed structure at Ayodhya.

"We know what happened in 1992 after giving the undertaking," Salve said.

He said that the concern is about the future and what will happen if some problem arises in the state after his release.

"We know what these people do," Salve said.

Rohtagi objected to such submissions made by Salve on behalf of the state government.

He said Varun has authorised that his lawyer can give any additional undertaking if required by the court.

The BJP leader had approached the apex court after he was arrested under the NSA for allegedly making inflammatory statements and causing a breach of public order when he went to Pilibhit to surrender on March 28 in a case registered against him for allegedly making 'inflammatory and communal speech' during his campaigning there last month.

The BJP nominee from Pilibhit constituency pleaded for bail saying that the filing of nomination papers was to begin from April 17.

The court had on April 2 issued notices to the state government and the District Magistrate of Pilibhit on the allegation by Varun that NSA was invoked against him with a political motive to sabotage his electoral debut.

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