Lucknow/New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) In a setback to the Uttar Pradesh government, the special advisory board of the Allahabad High Court Friday recommended withdrawal of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) invoked against the BJP's Varun Gandhi for his inflammatory communal utterances. The Mayawati government has decided to move the Supreme Court.
Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi termed as a 'historic moment' the revocation of the NSA against him and said the 'authorities' would have to 'answer' for the 20 days he spent in detention.
In a statement, he said his faith in the judiciary has been vindicated.
'I have all along expressed full faith in the judiciary and that has been completely vindicated today. I am grateful that this conspiracy by the state and centre for petty political gain has been exposed and deleted.,' Varun Gandhi said.
'For the 20 days that I have spent in illegal detention will have to be answered 20 times over by the authorities to the people of India. It is a historic moment, not just for me but for Indian democracy.'
While the details of the advisory board's recommendation were stated to be 'highly confidential', informed sources claimed that the high court panel has opined that the action was disproportionate to the nature of the crime Varun Gandhi committed.
Headed by Justice Prateek Kant, senior judge of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, the three-member panel comprising two retired high court judges S.N. Sahai and P.K. Sareen, was understood to have stated in no uncertain terms that the inflammatory speeches Varun Gandhi made were not enough to attract the deterrent provisions of the NSA.
The recommendation was communicated earlier in the day to the state government, which, however, decided in the evening to move the apex court.
'After detailed deliberations, the state government has decided to appeal against the advisory board's recommendation before the Supreme Court,' a senior government spokesman told mediapersons here.
The BJP welcomed the revocation of NSA charges against Varun Gandhi and termed the move as a 'rebuff to those who tried to implicate him'.
'It is a big rebuff to those who played vendetta politics and vote bank politics. The entire country should know that all those Lalu (Prasad), Mayawati and others who tried to implicate Varun have been given a befitting reply,' BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told a television channel.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party government in the state had booked Gandhi under the stringent NSA and jailed him in March after he made hate speeches at two election rallies.
'We knew from day one that this (invoking NSA) would not stay,' Prasad said.
Former law minister and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani said: 'I am glad that justice has been done. That decision is binding.'
Varun Gandhi was handpicked by the BJP to contest the Lok Sabha election from Pilibhit, his mother Maneka Gandhi's political bastion for five terms. Maneka left the seat for her son, and moved to the neighbouring Aonla.
Gandhi later moved the Supreme Court, which felt that the government had been too harsh and that slapping the NSA was disproportionate to his alleged crime.
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