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TN govt challenges order

Govt filed a petition in Madras HC for quashing of POTA Committee's order giving Vaiko, booked for speaking in LTTE's support, a clean chit.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Chennai
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2004 03:02 PM IST

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday filed a petition in the Madras High Court to quash the April 8 order of the Central POTA Review Committee which had concluded the case against MDMK General Secretary Vaiko did not constitute an offence under POTA.

In a public interest litigation, the government pointed out the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by Vaiko challenging the constitutional validity of section 21(3) of POTA.

In its order the Apex Court, clearly upholding the validity of section 21 and declining to go into the merits of the case, had specifically mentioned that it was for the designated POTA court to go into the merits of the case at the culmination of the trial, the government contended.

The Justice AB Saharya Committee, which on April 8 had concluded the case against Vaiko and some MDMK party members did not constitute an offence under POTA, had directed the state government to immediately take suitable steps to obtain appropriate orders from concerned courts in the case, in accordance with the law.

Vaiko and the others were booked under the anti-terror law in July 2002 for allegedly speaking in support of the banned LTTE at a public meeting at Tirumangalam in Madurai district earlier that year.

The government pointed out that on July 15 last, the trial court had turned down discharge petitions filed by the MDMK partymen, except Vaiko. The High Court had also rejected appeals against dismissal of the discharge petitions, the government contended.

Vaiko had not filed a discharge petition.

The state special public prosecutor for POTA cases cannot be superceded by an executive order, the government claimed.

The petition is likely to be heard tomorrow.

Yesterday, the state Advocate General NR Chandran had informed the court that a petition, challenging the PRC's order, had been filed earlier but was withdrawn for technical reasons.

The High Court had yesterday posted for hearing on April 29, a petition filed by Vaiko for a direction to the state to withdraw the POTA case against him in view of the PRC's finding.

Chandran had requested the court to hear Vaiko's petition along with the government's PIL.

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