SC sends notice to Manipur Govt on activist Erendro Leichombam’s plea seeking compensation for illegal NSA detention

THE Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to the Manipur Government in a petition filed by activist Erendro Leichombam seeking compensation and fixing of accountability for the “frivolous” invocation of the National Security Act(NSA) against him for his Facebook posts that said ‘cow dung and cow urine’ do not cure Covid.

Leichombam walked free yesterday evening after the Supreme Court by way of an interim order directed his immediate release since in the court’s view his continued detention would have amounted to a violation of his right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. Leichombam was detained on May 17.

Following the court’s order, the Manipur Government not only released him but also revoked the NSA detention. When the matter came up for hearing today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the court to “let the matter rest” in view of the revocation of the NSA. Mehta also said he did not attempt to defend the NSA order yesterday and now that it had been revoked, the matter should be closed.

Advocate Shadan Farasat, for the petitioner, opposed the closure of the case and said his prayers also included compensation for the illegal detention and the fixing of accountability for the invocation of the NSA.

Justice DY Chandrachud who was heading the bench termed the matter serious as the petitioner was deprived of liberty for three months. To this, SG Mehta said, the petitioner had moved the court only after three months.

The bench which also had Justice MR Shah eventually proceed to continue with the matter and asked the state government to file a counter-affidavit within two weeks. The matter will be heard thereafter.

Leichombam along with journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, were arrested for posting the comment over the death of Saikhom Tikendra Singh, the then state BJP President from Covid19. Manipur BJP Vice-President Usham Deban and General Secretary P Premananda Meetei had filed a complaint against them saying their posts were offensive.

The Leaflet