The Supreme Court on Monday disapproved of Uttar Pradesh government’s action of invoking the National Security Act (NSA) against BJP leader Varun Gandhi for his alleged hate speeches, terming it a “drastic action.”
“We feel such a drastic action is not required,” a bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan observed during the hearing of Varun’s petition challenging the March 29 order of Pilibhit District Magistrate to detain him under NSA.
The court indicated that the young BJP leader, presently lodged in Etah jail under preventive detention, might be released if he gave an undertaking not to make provocative speeches and create law and order problems. Stating that the main concern of the state government was law and order, the court asked senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Uttar Pradesh, whether Varun could be released if he gave an undertaking that he would not make provocative speeches.
Even as Salve sought time to seek his instruction from the state government on the issue, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi said on behalf of Varun that the BJP leader was ready to give such an undertaking. The court has adjourned the case to Thursday.
During the hearing, Salve said the state government had approved the Pilibhit district magistrate’s order invoking NSA against Varun and sent it to the Centre. He suggested that Varun should approach the Centre and not the court.
However, Varun’s counsel Rohtagi insisted that the court should decide the case as his client was in jail and he had to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Filing of nominations is to commence on April 17. Varun has challenged his detention under NDA terming it as a politically motivated move to sabotage his political debut.
However, in its affidavit filed in the court, the state government denied the allegations. “The mere fact that it may or may not have some implication on political fortunes of the petitioner (Varun) is not sufficient to suggest that the order stinks of politically motivated ill will,” Pilibhit District Magistrate Ajay Chauhan had said in the affidavit.