Erendro’s compensation plea for wrongful detention: SC defers hearing to September 17

By FrontierManipur | Published On 03rd Sep, 2021, 09:28 GMT+0530

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Erendro walking out of Sajiwa jail on Monday following the Supreme Court order

According to LiveLaw.in, the matter was listed before the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli but as it could not be heard on account of the paucity of time, the bench was inclined to post it for Monday

TFM Desk

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned to September 17, the plea by the father of activist Leichombam Erendro seeking compensation for his son’s wrongful detention under the National Security Act (NSA) for a Facebook post criticising the use of cow dung as COVID cure, said LiveLaw.in.

According to LiveLaw.in, the matter was listed before the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli but as it could not be heard on account of the paucity of time, the bench was inclined to post it for Monday.

SG Tushar Mehta advanced, “He chose to come (before the Supreme Court) after two months (of being charged). He was released on my saying. Now, this is the issue of compensation. He is seeking compensation. Please have it adjourned to next week.”

Advocate Shadan Farasat, for the petitioner, countered, “The learned Solicitor’s statement is inaccurate. I did not choose to come after two months! I was making representations to them! But they did not address my representations!”

However, he did not object to the two weeks’ adjournment, only praying that the matter be listed after fresh matters, said the LiveLaw.in.

“I would rather argue the case than fight like this”, said the SG.

Reportedly, the Manipur government has opposed the plea by the father of activist Leichombam Erendro seeking compensation for his son’s wrongful detention under the NSA for a Facebook post criticising campaign to promote Cow dung as COVID cure. In an affidavit filed before the top court in August, the State government said that Erendro is a habitual offender and that his arrest was needed to prevent him from abusing his position as a political activist.

Earlier Proceedings

The Supreme Court had in July issued notice on the prayer made by Manipur based political activist Leichobam Erendro seeking compensation for the illegal detention undergone by him under the stringent National Security Act over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah granted two weeks time to the respondents to file their reply on the issue of compensation.

On July 19, the Court had ordered his immediate release before 5 PM on the same day itself, after observing that his continued detention would amount to “a violation of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

Next day, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta informed the bench that the detention order has been revoked and Erendro was released in compliance with the Court’s order. The SG, therefore, requested the bench to put the matter to rest. 

However, Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for the father of Erendro who filed habeas corpus petition seeking his release, pressed the prayer for compensation. Farasat submitted that the detention order had mentioned five cases against him although a charge-sheet was not filed in any of those cases.

“5 cases were cited against me. In none of the cases, chargesheet has been filed!”, Farasat submitted.

“It is a serious matter. Someone has lost their liberty since May!”, Justice Chandrachud remarked during the hearing.

The SG said that he had not attempted to defend the detention order and that the same was immediately revoked.

The Supreme Court had on July 19 ordered his release before 5 PM on execution of bond of Rupees 1000/- .

“We are of the view that the continued detention of the petitioner before this Court would amount to a violation of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. We accordingly direct that the petitioner shall be released forthwith as and by way of an interim direction of this Court, unless he is required to be in custody in any other case, subject to further orders, subject to his filing a personal release bond in the amount of Rs 1000”, said the bench and directed his release.

The present petition has been moved by Erendro’s father L Raghumani Singh who’s argued that this wasn’t a case of invocation of NSA which was only invoked to defeat the bail granted to Erendro and suffers from malice in law. 

It may be mentioned that Erendro’s plea on dropping NSA charges against him was forwarded to both the central government and the state of Manipur.   However, the central kept silent over the matter though it was “answerable either to reject or allow” the plea, until the Supreme Court took up the case. 

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