Sterlite stir: HC asks Thoothukudi Collector to cancel NSA order

By PTI Published on Aug 02, 2018 01:01 PM IST

Collector Sandeep Nanduri

Madurai: The Madras High Court has directed the Thoothukudi Collector to cancel his order detaining an anti-Sterlite protester under the National Security Act (NSA), and cautioned him against merely accepting police request for such detentions.

Justices C T Selvam and A M Basheer Ahamed of the Madurai bench gave the order when Collector Sandeep Nanduri appeared before it, complying with its Tuesday order, which was given during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition (HCP) filed by the wife of the protester, Hari Raghavan.

"Any person who did not commit a crime should not be punished. The Collector should not accept whatever the police say and sign (on detention orders). Your signature could affect the freedom of an individual. Do not act like this in future, and respect judicial orders," the bench cautioned.

Taking a stern view of the detention of Hari Raghavan under NSA despite the court having granted him conditional bail, the division bench had asked the collector to be present in court and give an explanation today.

Raghavan is a functionary of Left-wing outfit Makkal Athigaram. He has been slapped with 92 cases for allegedly instigating the agitation demanding closure of Sterlite's copper plant in Thoothukudi.

He was granted bail 24 July. The agitation had turned violent on its 100th day, leading to police firing in which 13 people were killed on May 22 and 23.

During the hearing of the HCP, filed for seeking production of people illegally detained, the judges said it was not proper on the part of the police to use the NSA against Raghavan after the court had given him conditional bail.

"This is democratic Tamil Nadu or a police raj State?" they had asked Tuesday.