Delhi HC's verdict on activist Priya Pillai's offloading today

  • New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 12, 2015 10:57 IST

The Delhi high court will on Thursday pronounce its verdict on a plea filed by Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai challenging her offloading on January 11 from a flight to London at the IGI airport in New Delhi.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher will pronounce the verdict after the court had reserved the order in the case on February 19.

Pillai had challenged the Centre's move to disallow her to travel to London where she was to brief British parliamentarians on the violation of rights of forest-dwelling communities affected by coal mining in Madhya Pradesh's Mahan area. The government had also issued a look out circular (LOC) in Pillai's name.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for Pillai, argued that the LOC was issued "without any authority of law".

"There is no law that has been invoked by the government to justify their action of preventing her from exercising her fundamental right of speech and expression before members of parliament in Britain," Jaising had told the court.

"The conflict here is between a multinational company and the tribals… In my case, I am espousing the rights of tribals who are a part of the Indian Union. This cannot be termed as anti-national or secessionist," Pillai had said.

The Centre had justified the issuance of the LOC saying that Pillai was traveling abroad with "specific anti-India agenda". It had also argued that her campaign against the government would have impacted the country's image abroad, "at a time when India is looking forward to foreign direct investments".

The high court had earlier termed the central government's decision to prevent Pillai from leaving India on the ground that she would project a negative image of the country at the international level as "inappropriate".

Pillai was invited to talk about her campaign with local communities in Mahan, where a proposed coal mining project is allegedly threatening to uproot the lives and livelihood of the community.

(With IANS inputs)

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