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SC dismisses petition challenging Nedumaran's bail

December 19, 2003 18:29 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Tamil Nadu government challenging a Madras high court order granting bail to Tamil National Movement leader P Nedumaran, who was arrested under Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Severely criticising Tamil Nadu government for 'taking things too far', a bench comprising Justice S Rajendra Babu, Justice A R Lakshmanan and Justice G P Mathur said, "We do not want to interfere with the high court order granting bail."

The Tamil Nadu government, in its petition, said that Nedumaran was arrested under POTA for regularly extending support to banned organisation LTTE and his release on bail would result in tampering of evidence.

The bench said, "We have gone into all this detail. Do not create an atmosphere that there is something to panic. They are politicians in a democracy. Can't they take a particular view? You are taking things too far."

The bench had kept pending Nedumaran's petition challenging POTA. Nedumaran's council said that because of the clarification given by the Supreme Court on the bail provisions of POTA, the high court had granted bail as the TNM leader was in jail for last 17 months. 

The bench said, "The objections against POTA is that it was being misused against political opponents. We may go into this aspect in the Nedumaran's petition pending before this court."

The Madras high court had on Thursday ordered the release on bail of Nedumaran and three others detained under POTA.

Like the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Member of Parliament Vaiko detained under POTA for making speeches in support of the banned LTTE, Nedumaran and the other three -- Pavanan, Suba Veerapandiyan and Thayappan -- were arrested for making similar speeches in Chennai in August 2003.

The decision of the Madras high court came in just two days of the Supreme Court ruling that an accused under POTA could seek bail under section 49(7) of the Act even before the expiry of the one-year period.

And on the expiry of the one-year period, the accused could be released on bail under the ordinary law without the rigour of section 49(7).

The apex court had also observed that mere verbal support to an organisation could not be construed as a terrorist activity to attract the mischief of POTA.

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The genuine spirit of POTA should be taken into account. This should not be misused to score points over political opponents and to harass them. ...

Posted by A.H. Venkatachalam


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