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Supreme Court releases Varun Gandhi on parole

Supreme Court releases Varun Gandhi on parole

New Delhi: Superme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the release of Varun Gandhi, booked under the National Security Act, on parole for two weeks on condition that he has to give a fresh undertaking not to make any hate speeches during the elections.

The court directed the 29-year-old BJP leader, who is lodged in Etah jail since 29 March, to give an undertaking to jail authorities that he will not make any “inflammatory or provocative speech that causes communal disharmony".

It said after his release, Varun will give an identical undertaking before the apex court

“Having regard to the facts and circumstances, we are inclined to release him on parole for two weeks on condition that he will give an undertaking before the superintendent of Etah Jail that he will not make such speeches during the parole which is likely to cause communal disturbance and hatred among any caste and community," a bench headed by chief justice K G Balakrishnan said.

Welcoming the SC order, BJP said “Gandhi, who is an active party worker will, meanwhile, work for the party in this period".

Reacting to the SC order, Congress attacked Varun, saying his undertaking to Etah jail authorities that he will not make inflammatory speeches was a virtual admission that the saffron party’s candidate made hate speeches.

The bench also comprising justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal said Varun will not disturb public sentiments during the period of parole.

Varun would also have to furnish a personal bond of Rs50,000 and two sureties of the like amount before the Pilibhit district magistrate, the court said.

At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Varun, placed before the bench an affidavit signed by the BJP leader from the jail about his undertaking in response to the previous order of the apex court on 13 April.

However, the Uttar Pradesh counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve objected to the manner in which the undertaking was placed, saying he has not received the text of the undertaking and the matter was of sensitive nature.

The bench was also not satisfied with the affidavit of Varun and said that the contents of the undertaking cannot be of his choice.

“We will give the nature of the undertaking to be filed by Varun," the bench said.

“This is not sufficient. You should indicate what sort of undertaking you are giving," the bench said.

Salve said the authorities are of the view that Varun is still a threat to public order. He said that the state government opposed his release on parole on the basis of this undertaking.

The BJP leader had approached the apex court after he was arrested under the NSA for allegedly making inflammatory statements and causing a breach of public order when he went to Pilibhit to surrender on 28 March in a case registered against him for allegedly making “inflammatory and communal speech" during his campaigning there last month.

The BJP nominee from Pilibhit constituency pleaded for bail saying that the filing of nomination papers was to begin on Friday.

The SC had on 2 April issued notices to the state government and the district magistrate of Pilibhit on the allegation by Varun that NSA was invoked against him with a political motive to sabotage his electoral debut.

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