At the conclusion of arguments, the Vikramajit Sen tribunal on Tuesday reserved verdict on the validity of the May 14, 2010 notification of the Centre extending the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for two years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The one-man tribunal is mandated to give its verdict within six months of the notification, which is due to expire on November 13.
Continuing his submissions, Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandhiok, appearing for the Centre, requested the tribunal to look into the material produced in a sealed cover and said it was these documents which formed the basis for the notification.
Justice Sen, after perusing the papers, told him: “How do I know that they are authentic? How can you claim that these are classified information? In a democracy nothing is secret. Secrecy is an exception. Nobody will be jeopardised by disclosure of this information. At the most, you can keep out the name of the person who gave inputs to the Intelligence Bureau for this material.”
However, the ASG maintained these were confidential information which formed the basis for issuing the notification.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko, who is opposing the notification, said one of the grounds stated in it was that the LTTE's object was to form Tamil Eelam by annexing part of Tamil Nadu and thus it was against the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India.
Quoting extensively from the speeches of the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran, Mr. Vaiko said Tamil Eelam was a historical name, found in Tamil literature, meaning territorial land, northern and eastern parts within Sri Lanka. None of the activities mentioned by the Centre was sufficient to conclude that the LTTE's object was secession of a part of territory of India and thus an unlawful activity to sustain the notification. He quoted a recent judgment of the New Zealand Supreme Court that Tamil Eelam was confined to territory within Sri Lanka and that the LTTE was a political organisation.
“The ground on which the government seeks to extend the ban is baseless and unjustified. Innocent people fleeing Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu were branded LTTE cadres and forced to return or stay in special camps,” Mr. Vaiko said.
Tamil Nadu counsel S. Thananjayan, while supporting the Centre's stand, pointed out that after the notification, the activities of LTTE supporters increased. The number of cases registered by Tamil Nadu would show political support being extended to the LTTE. At this, the judge said in a lighter vein, “You better lift the ban, then such activities will come down.”
Counsel N. Chandrasekaran, representing the Tamilar Desiya Iyakkam, and counsel M. Radhakrishnan, appearing for the Prisoners Rights Forum, supported Mr. Vaiko and made a fervent plea for quashing the notification, contending that the Centre had failed to produce enough evidence to sustain it.
Keywords: LTTE ban