Mon, 02 Aug 2021

By Garima TyagiNew Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Manipur government on a plea filed by the father of activist Erendro Leichombam seeking compensation for his son's detention under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) over a Facebook post that cow dung or cow urine will not cure COVID-19.

A Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah sought a response from the Manipur government on the compensation issue saying 'It is a serious matter'. The court has now posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

"It is a serious matter. Someone has lost their liberty since May," remarked Justice Chandrachud.

Earlier on Monday, the Bench had ordered the immediate release of Leichombam, booked under the NSA for a Facebook post criticising BJP leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID-19, within six hours.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta on Tuesday informed the apex court that the detention order has been revoked and Leichombam was released yesterday in compliance with the court's order.

The Solicitor General, therefore, urged the top court to put the matter to a rest, however, advocate Shadan Farasat appearing for Leichombam's father, who has filed habeas corpus petition seeking his son's release, requested compensation for wrongful detention.

"Five cases were cited against me and no charge sheet was filed in any of the cases... some responsibility has to be fixed in the case as orders were passed in a cavalier manner," said advocate Farasat arguing for Leichombam.

Leichombam, who holds a postgraduate degree in public administration from Harvard University and is a former associate of activist Irom Sharmila, said his detention is a reprisal for his criticism of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID-19.

His father L Raghumani Singh stated in the plea that this was not a case of invocation of NSA which was only invoked to defeat the bail granted to Erendro and suffers from malice in law.

It is a shocking instance of misuse of preventive detention law to stifle completely innocuous speech that is fully constitutionally protected and was made in the public interest, said the plea. (ANI)

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