» Election » HC panel revokes NSA on Varun; Mayawati to move SC

HC panel revokes NSA on Varun; Mayawati to move SC

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Last updated on: May 08, 2009 21:07 IST
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The special advisory board of the Allahabad High Court on Friday recommended withdrawal of the National Security Act that was invoked against Varun Gandhi, for his alleged inflammatory communal utterances in Pilibhit in March.

While the details of the recommendation were stated to be "highly confidential," informed sources claimed that the HC panel had opined that the action was disproportionate to the nature of the crime committed by Varun, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Philibit.

Headed by Justice Pradeek Kant, senior judge of the Lucknow bench of the high court, the three member panel comprising two retired HC judges Justices S N Sahai and P K Sareen, was understood to have stated in no uncertain terms that the inflammatory speeches made by Varun were not enough to attract the deterrent provisions of the NSA.

The recommendation was communicated to the state government earlier in the day, subsequent to which a decision was taken later in the evening to move the country's apex court against it.

"After detailed deliberations, the state government has decided to appeal against the advisory board's recommendation before the Supreme Court," a senior government spokesman told mediapersons in Lucknow.

Though it was a convention to abide by the recommendation of the advisory board, state's top officials were of the view that technically that could not be binding.

"Since the act clearly provides for a necessary confirmation by the high court's advisory board, its recommendation cannot be ignored by the state government" claimed former advocate general Virendra Bhatia, who was also Samajwadi Party's Rajya Sabha member.

Bhatia also felt, "No appeal lies against the advisory board's 'opinion'."

The stringent law was slapped on Varun, after he went overboard in his anti-Muslim remarks during his election speeches in Pilibhit, which has been his mother Maneka Gandhi's political bastion for five terms. Maneka abdicated the seat for her son, by moving to the neighbouring Aonla Lok Sabha seat.

However, his rabid anti Muslim utterances drew the attention of the state government that took serious cognisance of the speeches given by Varun in the Dalchand locality of Pilibhit town on March 7 and at Barkhera village on March 8.

Varun allegedly compounded his unlawful acts by disturbing public order through his speeches outside the local court on March 28 whne he surrendered. His supporters also indulged in acts of aggression and violence while he was being taken from the court to Pilibhit prison.

The report sent by the Pilibhit district magistrate clearly accused Varun's supporters of "attacking and beating up policemen, and thereby creating an atmosphere of terror in the vicinity."

He later moved the Supreme Court, which felt that the government had been too harsh and that slapping NSA was a disproportionate measure as compared to his crime.

Invoking NSA clearly made Varun a Hindutva hero overnight. And he was also in sudden demand from different constituencies for him to campaign.

On the other hand, it had also given Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati an alibi to send the message to her Muslim supporters that she was not ready to condone Varun's crime.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow