The Madras High Court witnessed a flurry of activity on Saturday, usually a holiday, with a member of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) challenging an order of the Chennai police rejecting permission for holding the “Eelam Tamils Livelihood Rights Conference” at the YMCA, Royapettah in Chennai.
However, at the end of the day, a single Judge directed the Registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice for posting it before a Division Bench. The petition is to come up for hearing before a Division Bench on Sunday.
On Friday, a Division Bench consisting of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M.Venugopal had directed the Chennai Police Commissioner to consider the application seeking permission after taking into account various factors, including the ground capacity, safety and security and the earlier orders passed permitting the usage of the ground for various functions, and pass appropriate orders.
Consequent to the court order, the city police passed an order, rejecting permission. Against this, J.Anbalagan, MLA and member, TESO, filed a writ petition.
It came up before Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar, who had a special sitting.
In the affidavit, the petitioner submitted that several delegates from various foreign countries such as Canada, Nigeria, Turkey, Sweden, Morocco and Sri Lanka would attend the conference.
Leaders from North India had already come to Chennai to take part. As regards foreign delegates, the Centre had already given clearance. The conference was open only to 2,500 invitees and the expected crowd would not be more than 8,000. There need be no apprehension that more than one lakh persons would participate. There would be no traffic block either.
The petitioner’s counsel, P.Wilson, said the police had given new grounds for rejecting permission. Advocate-General A.Navaneethakrishnan said if the conference was allowed public safety would become a casualty. The government had received inputs which contained “highly explosive” information. He produced a document which contained “very confidential information” for perusal by the Judge. Taking note of the intelligence inputs, it was very difficult to allow them to hold the conference. He cited the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya in 1992. It was the State government’s duty to maintain law and order.
After hearing the arguments for nearly an hour, Mr.Justice Paul Vasanthakumar said as the issue was pending before the Division Bench and the petitioner sought permission to conduct the conference, he was of the view that it might not be proper for him to consider the issue.