1 min read.Updated: 20 Feb 2015, 01:37 AM ISTApoorva
Pillai maintains that she was against a firm and govt's actions amounted to curtailing her freedom of speech and expression
New Delhi: The Delhi high court Thursday reserved its verdict in a petition filed by Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, against not being allowed to board an aircraft departing for the UK on 11 January where she was going to meet some British lawmakers.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher reserved the judgment after hearing extensive arguments from Pillai’s lawyer Indira Jaising and the government, which justified its decision as being in furtherance of protecting the sovereignty of the country.
Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain had argued on Wednesday that the government has the right to prevent people who threaten its economic interests from travelling abroad since such conduct amounts to a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India. Terming Pillai’s activities anti-national, the government defended its right to take preventive action someone who threatened the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
Jain had earlier argued that Pillai’s mere presence in the meeting which she was invited for and her speech at that forum would have a detrimental impact on foreign direct investments and this activity was geared towards an anti-Indian campaign which could also lead to imposition of economic sanctions on the country.
Calling the government’s act “pre-censorship", lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing for Pillai, denied that Pillai’s activities could be considered anti-national and said that the government could not take such preventive measures when a person’s fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression and freedom of association and personal liberty were involved.
Pillai was prevented from going to the UK to highlight the issues of alleged human rights violations of tribals in the proposed Mahan coal field in Madhya Pradesh which would uproot local communities. Essar Energy, a British company, is involved in the project.
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