Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam was booked under the National Security Act and kept in preventive detention for a Facebook post criticising BJP leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID.
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the release of Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam, who was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for a Facebook post criticising Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID.
A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said that the person cannot be kept in jail even for a day for such an act.
“He cannot be kept in jail even for a day. We will order his release today,” said Justice Chandrachud.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, told the Court that he will take instructions and requested that the matter be listed tomorrow but the Bench remained adamant that it will grant interim relief today.
The Court the proceeded to pass the order releasing him.
“We are of the view that continued detention of the petitioner would be a violation of right ti life and personal liberty under Article 21. We accordingly direct that the petitioner shall be released forthwith subject to interim directions of this court and subject to further orders and him filing a personal bond of Rs. 1,000,” the Court ordered.
The order has to be complied with on or before 5 pm today, the Court added.
Leichombam, who holds a postgraduate degree in public administration from Harvard University and is a former associate of activist Irom Sharmila, had for long spoken against state repression and militarisation, according to reports.
The plea filed in Supreme Court by his father, L Raghumani Singh through advocate Shadan Farasat stated that the detention of the activist is a reprisal for his criticism against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID.
“Erendro, a Manipuri political activist, has been preventively detained solely to punish him for his criticism of Bhartiya Janta Party (“BJP”) leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID,” the petition said.
It is a shocking instance of misuse of preventive detention law to stifle completely innocuous speech that is fully constitutionally protected and was made in public interest, the petition further stated.
It was also submitted that the detention of the activist was in contempt of the April 30, 2021 order of the Supreme Court in the suo motu case of COVID-19 in which a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud had observed that no one should be punished for critiquing COVID policies over social media.