Lucknow/New Delhi: An embarrassed Mayawati government on Thursday revoked its detention order under NSA against Varun Gandhi for his alleged hate speeches following a direction from the Supreme Court which made known its disapproval of the grounds for booking him.
“Following the Supreme Court order, the state government has revoked NSA against Varun Gandhi”, a senior government official said in Lucknow.
The UP government’s move came within hours of the Supreme Court directing it to “forthwith withdraw” the detention order slapped on Varun on 29 March.
29-year-old Varun was charged with inciting communal passion by making provocative and inflammatory speeches during elections meetings in Pilibhit on 7 and 8 March. He was lodged in Etah jail and has been on parole since 16 April.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan disposed of the petition filed by Varun challenging the imposition of the NSA as well as the application filed by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking setting aside the decision of the State Advisory Board recommending revocation of the stringent law against him.
The apex court took exception to the submission made by the state government that the district magistrate (DM) of Pilibhit could not be heard and only the additional district magistrate (ADM) was present before the Advisory Board during the hearing.
”This cannot be a ground to challenge the decision of the Advisory Board. The ADM was present. He must have been instructed by the DM,“ the bench observed when UP advocate general Jyotindra Mishra contended that the DM was not heard by the Advisory Board.
The Court said notice was given fixing the date for hearing before the Advisory Board and the authority should have been present to put forth its views. “Why you were not present? it asked.
After the Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Deepak Verma passed the order, the BJP leader’s counsel and senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi did not press for the second petition seeking damages of Rs10 lakh from the UP government.
UP Home Department officials said while the NSA detention order has been withdrawn, other cases pending against Varun were being pursued and law would take its own course.
The apex court was critical of the UP government approaching it with an application against the decision of the State Advisory Board which had not found sufficient ground for invocation of NSA against Varun.
Varun’s counsel said that the provisions of the law clearly said that the case will be revoked upon the recommendation of the Advisory Board.
The three-member UP Advisory Board (Detentions) headed by senior judge of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court justice Pradeep Kant had on 8 May told the state government that “there is no sufficient ground to detain Varun under NSA and directed revocation of detention order of 29 March.
Welcoming the Supreme Court order, BJP said invocation of NSA was an “act of vendetta” on the part of BSP and the Congress.
Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said the episode will not help Varun as “the BJP leadership will ultimately dump him.”
Another Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said the young leader will turn out to be more of a “liability” and not an asset for the BJP.