SUPREME COURT DIRECTS PUCL TO CHALLENGE THE DRACONIAN LAW IN CHHATTISGARH HIGH COURT
The Supreme Court of India has permitted the PUCL to withdraw its Petition challenging the constitutionality of The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, and said in the order that the petitioners were at “liberty to go to the High Court”.
Appearing for the Petitioners, Mr. Rajendar Sachar, Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court & Former National President of the PUCL argued that the Chhattisgarh Act 2005 was linked up with the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 (Amended in 2004), and the main issue before the Apex Court was to examine whether the States could bring in similar laws when the Central Act like UAPA was already applicable to the entire country. Mr. Sachar also gave example of other State legislations like the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act, 1999 (MCOCA), whose provisions were under challenge before this Hon’ble Court. The questions relating to violation of constitutional provisions,human rights and civil liberties are required to be examined by this Hon’ble Court.
But, the CJ Bench consisting of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam refused to entertain the Petition on the grounds that it was the State Act under challenge, and that the same should be done before the Chhattisgarh High Court.
Sr. Advocate Mr. Sanjay Parikh & Adv Anitha Shenoy (Advocate on Record) were also present in the Court. Others present during the hearing were: Ms. Kavita Shrivastava (General Secretary, Rajasthan PUCL) & Dr. Sebu George (MFC), Adv Aagney Sail (HRLN).
It may be recalled that a total of 139 citizens have been detained under this draconian law, including the National Vice-President and CG PUCL General Secretary, Dr. Binayak Sen, and Ajay TG (A Film Maker and a Member of the State Executive Committee).
According to the data available with the CG PUCL, 52 citizens have been illegally detained under the Act of 2005, and 67 citizens have been declared as absconding. Out of these ‘absconding” , the police records mention about 30 “unknown CPI (Maoist)organizatio n workers” and “naxalite members” Thus, this draconian law has been used against 139 citizens, which include 07 Traders/businessmen (2 cloth merchants, 2 electrical shopkeepers, 1 general storekeeper, 1 cattle dealer, 1 video-grapher) ; 01 Tailor; 01 Journalist; 01 Former Journalist; 02 Naxalite Couriers (whatever that may mean!); 01 NGO worker (i.e. Ajay T G, who is a member of State Executive Committee of CG PUCL, and a known Media person/Film- maker); 19 farmers/agricultural workers; 12 Cultural Activists (from Chetna Natya Mandali, again described as naxalites); 01 private doctor; 07 hardcore naxalites (including members of various committees of CPI-Maoists) .
In majority of the cases, the charge as described in the police records as: “collaborated with the CPI (Maoists) organization, and provided food,water etc., to its members, and on their behalf illegally collected funds”.
The Chhattisgarh PUCL is consulting senior members and legal experts to challenge the Chhattisgarh Act of 2005 at the Chhattisgarh High Court.
TRIAL HEARINGS IN DR. BINAYAK SEN’S CASE
The next dates of trial hearings in Dr. Binayak Sen’s case are: 29th to 31 st of July (3 days), and 4th to 8 th of August (5 days) at the District Court, Raipur,Chhattisgarh . The Prosecution has provided a list of 16 witnesses to be examined during these dates.
Ajay T G, Film maker and member of CG PUCL State Executive Committee detained under the Chhattisgarh Act 2005, will be produced for remand on 31 st July,2008 at the District Court, Durg, Chhattisgarh.
Rajendra K Sail