Apex court extends Varun’s parole till May 14 (Lead)

May 1st, 2009 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi was Friday granted a two-week extension of his parole by the apex court to enable him to continue campaigning and vote for the Lok Sabha poll for the constituency May 13.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal extended Varun Gandhi’s parole till May 14, dismissing the Uttar Pradesh government’s objection.

The apex court earlier granted him a two-week parole on April 16 and released him from Etah jail in Uttar Pradesh where he was kept after his arrest. He was charged under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for the alleged hate speeches he made against Muslims.

The court granted parole to Varun Gandhi on a special lawsuit, called habeas corpus petition, filed in courts to secure presence of a missing person. The lawsuit also challenged stringent NSA being slapped against him.

As Varun Gandhi’s lawsuit came up for hearing, senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, pleaded to the court to cancel its April 16 order releasing the BJP candidate.

Salve contended that the state government had earlier referred its decision to invoke NSA to the union government, which too had approved of the move and accordingly the apex court should cancel Varun Gandhi’s parole.

But the Gandhi scion’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi countered Salve’s argument, saying “it (approval of invocation of NSA by the union government) was merely a political move”.

Salve also contended that during his parole, Varun Gandhi had twice violated one of the conditions imposed by the court for his release.

He had failed to inform the state government about his whereabouts on two occasions. Rohtagi contended this was when his client was not in Uttar Pradesh but in Delhi and during those days, as per the court’s conditions, he did not need to inform the state government about his whereabouts.

The apex court, however, extended Varun Gandhi’s parole, saying that the state government may file its objection to his release in a detailed affidavit later.

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