Following the apex court’s order on Monday, the Manipur government not only released him but also revoked the NSA detention.
A day after the Supreme Court freed political activist Erendro Leichombam after two months of detention under the stringent National Security Act, 1980, the apex court on Tuesday issued notice to the Manipur Government on a petition filed by the activist seeking compensation and fixing of accountability for the “frivolous” invocation of the NSA against him for his Facebook posts that said “cow dung and cow urine do not cure COVID-19”.
On Monday, the apex court issued an interim order directing his immediate release since the court noted that his continued detention would have amounted to a violation of his right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Following the apex court’s order, the Manipur government not only released him but also revoked the NSA detention. Deputy secretary (Home), Government of Manipur Th Charanjeet Singh has issued an order to this effect, in the name of the governor, on Monday.
When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the court to “let the matter rest” in view of the revocation of the NSA. Mehta also said he did not attempt to defend the NSA order yesterday and now that it had been revoked, the matter should be closed.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, for the petitioner, opposed the closure of the case and said his prayers also included compensation for the illegal detention and the fixing of accountability for the invocation of the NSA.
Justice DY Chandrachud who was heading the bench termed the matter serious as the petitioner was deprived of liberty for two months. To this, SG Mehta said, the petitioner had moved the court only after two months, reports said.
The bench which also had Justice MR Shah eventually proceeded to continue with the matter and asked the state government to file a counter-affidavit within two weeks. The matter will be heard thereafter.
The petition has been listed on August 6, 2021 for final disposal.
Erendro along with TFM journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, were arrested on May 13 for posting comments on Facebook over the death of Saikhom Tikendra Singh, the then BJP Manipur president from COVID-19. They were granted bail on May 17 by the chief judicial magistrate, Imphal West. The state government invoked the NSA against them and were arrested on the same day before they were released.
Erendro’s father L Raghumani had approached the Supreme Court who argued that NSA was only invoked to defeat the bail granted to Erendro and suffers from malice in law.