The atmosphere at present is not conducive for withdrawal of criminal cases against those who protested against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), Advocate-General A.L.Somayaji told the Madras High Court on Tuesday.

Three petitions, filed by G.Sundarrajan of Vadapalani, an engineering graduate, and P.Pugalenthi, advocate, came up before the First Bench comprising the Acting Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan.

The petitions included a public interest litigation petition challenging the clearance given by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on July 11 for `First Approach to Criticality’ (FAC) of the Unit I of the power plant.

The petitioner said that in a judgment on May 6 this year, the Supreme Court had given various directions. However, the AERB without verifying with the authorities about the implementation of the directions, granted clearance on July 11 for FAC. But the directives had not been implemented.

The Advocate-General, assisted by the Special Government Pleader, I.S.Inbadurai, submitted that the cases against protesters included the snatching of a pistol from a police personnel and a `marana Porattam’ (agitation till death). There were protests against the second unit of the project also.

Mr. Somayaji said that in its order, the Supreme Court had only asked the State government to make an endeavour to withdraw all the criminal cases filed against the agitators. There was no positive direction. The stage was not ripe for withdrawing the cases registered against the project agitators. The Additional Solicitor-General of India, P.Wilson, assisted by C.Kanagaraj, said the pleas to enforce the Supreme Court directions were not maintainable before the High Court.

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