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Illegally Detained Manipur Activist's Father Withdraws Contempt Petition; Compensation Plea To Continue

Srishti Ojha
7 Sep 2021 11:37 AM GMT
Illegally Detained Manipur Activists Father Withdraws Contempt Petition; Compensation Plea To Continue
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Activist Leichobam Erendro was detained under NSA over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of a contempt petition filed alleging that detention of Manipur based political activist Leichobam Erendro under NSA over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID was in contempt of SC's order of no clampdown on information on social media or harassment of individuals delivering help on social media. The contempt petition...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of a contempt petition filed alleging that detention of Manipur based political activist Leichobam Erendro under NSA over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID was in contempt of SC's order of no clampdown on information on social media or harassment of individuals delivering help on social media.

The contempt petition was filed by Erendro's father Raghumani Singh arguing that Erendro's post was intended to dispel misinformation about CoVID 19 cure.

A Bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Hima Kohli issued the order after being informed by Advocate Shadan Farasat appearing for the petitioner that the petitioner does not wish to press the contempt proceedings as he is seeking compensation in the habeas corpus petition filed by him.

"Petitioner Counsel submits since petitioner has independently pressed prayer seeking compensation in the writ of habeas corpus, the contempt proceedings are not pressed at this stage, the contempt petition is accordingly disposed of", the Bench recorded.

During the hearing Advocate Shadan Farat informed the court that he had filed the contempt plea and habeas plea simultaneously.

"Your habeas corpus where your son was released, you are pressing for compensation. It was there on Board before us last week." The Bench said.

"Yes, that's why I'm withdrawing the contempt. Lordship may simple dismiss it as withdrawn." Mr Farasat said.

As per Mr Raghumani, not only was the detention bad in law but it is also in direct violation of the Supreme Court's order dated 30.04.2021 in SMW (C)No.3/2021, In Re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic, wherein the Apex Court has directed that there shall be no clampdown on information on social media or harassment of individuals delivering help on social media. In this context, the petitioner states that Erendro's Facebook post was intended to dispel misinformation about COVID-19 cure.

The Habeas corpus petition being referred to here was filed seeking the release of Leichobam Erendro, who was detained under the stringent National Security Act over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID.

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".

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

Supreme Court had then issued notice on the prayer made by Leichobam Erendro seeking compensation for the illegal detention underwent by him under the stringent National Security Act. The Bench had granted two weeks time to the respondents to file their reply on the issue of compensation. The issue is still due to be heard.

Case Background:

Erendro was initially arrested on 13.05.2021 for his Facebook post of 13.05.2021 where he had stated that: "The cure for Corona is Not cow dung & cow urine. The cure is science & common sense Professor ji RIP". The statement was made in the context of the death of the President of the Manipur BJP, Prof. Tikendra Singh, was meant as a criticism of the BJP politicians who had been advocating cow-urine and cow-dung as cures for COVID-19. Enraged by the Facebook post, few local BJP leaders filed complaint, leading to his arrest.

On 17.05.2021, the day he was granted bail by the local court, the District Magistrate, Imphal West District detained him under the stringent National Security Act 1980 (NSA), which is a preventive detention law.

Case Title: L Raghumani Singh vs Rajesh Kumar & Ors

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