The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Manipur government to file its response on granting compensation to political activist Leichombam Erendro, who was released last evening from detention after being detained under the National Security Act for having criticised BJP leaders on use of cow dung and urine as cures for COVID-19.
A bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that it was a serious issue as someone lost his liberty since May and the petitioners have prayed for grant of compensation to Erendro for detention.
The bench said it was issuing notice to the state government and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
During the hearing, Mr Mehta said that this case was brought to light three months ago and as soon as the state government had noticed the fact, the charges were revoked.
He said the state government has not defended the plea for release of the activist and therefore the matter should be allowed to rest here.
The bench noted Mr Mehta’s submission that Mr Erendro was released in compliance with the interim direction issued on Monday and charges against him under the NSA provision and the detention were revoked.
Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for Erendro’s father who moved the plea, said that his prayer is for compensation as five cases were cited against the activist and no charge sheet was filed in any of them.
The bench said, “We issue notice on the compensation aspect and you (Mehta) can file a reply on this aspect”.
Mr Mehta said that this could have been avoided by a pragmatic approach but he will again urge that the matter should be allowed to rest as the petition was filed after three months.
He said the state will have to satisfy the order on merits and this could have been avoided by a little pragmatic approach.
Mr Farasat submitted that in this case responsibility has to be fixed for the “illegal detention” since May 17.
Mr Mehta said the petitioner is incidental and something else is being done and he would file his reply to the notice.
Mr Erendro was released on Monday evening following the Supreme Court direction to Imphal jail authorities, saying that he cannot be put in jail even for a day.
The top court had said, “Having prima facie considered the contents of the petition, we are of the view that the continued detention of the petitioner before this Court would amount to a violation of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution”.