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NSA against Varun invalid; UP to move SC

New Delhi, Sat, 09 May 2009 Vikash Ranjan

Hours after the UP Advisory Board ruled invocation of NSA (National Security Act) on BJP’s Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi as “invalid and incorrect” and recommended the State government to revoke the order, the UP government late Friday night decided to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. The government is likely to file its petition on Saturday.

The spokesperson of the State Home department said the decision by the Advisory Board was taken without considering the time asked by the Pilibhit District Magistrate to keep its side. This way, the decision taken by the Board without considering all essential aspects of the case is inappropriate and we will challenge it in the Supreme Court as the case is already under the Court’s consideration, he said.

The three-member advisory board, set up by the Allahabad HC, headed by Justice Pradeep Kant, a senior judge of the Lucknow Bench of HC, reportedly handed over its findings to the State government on Friday recommending immediate withdrawal of NSA against Varun Gandhi saying the use of NSA against Varun Gandhi was incorrect and invalid. It further said the board was dissatisfied with the materials submitted by Pilibhit District Magistrate to justify invoking of NSA against Varun Gandhi for spilling out communal remarks during public meeting in his constituency Pilibhit.

Legally, the Mayawati administration is bound by the advisory board, the ultimate statutory authority on NSA, ruling under sub-Section 2 of the Part 12 of the National Security Act (1980) and must order revocation of NSA against the BJP novice leader with immediate effect. Also, there is no provision in the NSA law to challenge the advisory board’s order.

In this case, however, the situation is different as the case is already under Court’s consideration that allows UP government to challenge the board’s order in the apex court. It depends on the apex court’s wisdom whether it entertains the petition or whatever decision it takes. An appeal in the apex court may help it buy time until May 13, when the state goes for fifth and last round of Lok Sabha election, as the Mayawati government seems to have come on the back foot over its order of slapping NSA against the BJP leader.

While the invoking of NSA order may cost the UP government dear in the last phase of election, the BJP candidate from Pilibhit, that goes to poll on May 13, would leave no stone unturned to encash the advisory board’s order that came in his favour. The young Gandhi, who is making his debut in politics as Lok Sabha candidate, has already claimed the State government invoked the NSA on him out of “political vendetta”.

NSA was invoked against Varun Gandhi on March 29 for his alleged hate and provocative speech during a public meeting on March 5 in his Pilibhit constituency. Two criminal cases were filed against him and he was arrested on March 28 while going to surrender before the CJM, Pilibhit. The Supreme Court granted him parole on April 17 after he moved the Court against the State government’s imposition of NSA on him and given undertaking that he would not make hate and inflammatory speeches. His parole came to an end on May 2, which was extended by the apex court till May 14, a day after the Lok Sabha elections get over.

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