Can’t pass ‘blanket order’ against decision to place Delhi under National Security Act: Supreme Court

A view of the Supreme Court of India.

A view of the Supreme Court of India.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

National Security Act was imposed from January 19 to April 18 in the Capital

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass a “blanket order” against Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s decision to place Delhi under the National Security Act (NSA), a law which allows the police to place anyone considered a threat to national security, law and order under preventive detention.

A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra told petitioner-advocate Manohar Lal Sharma that the court cannot pass such general directions, which would “tie” the hands of the authorities.

The NSA was imposed from January 19 to April 18. The notification was issued on January 10 amidst widespread protests across the Capital by people belonging to all walks of life against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019, which grants citizenship on the basis of religion.

“These are law and order issues. How can we interfere? We cannot pass a general direction or a blanket order restraining the government from invoking NSA, but we can definitely do something if individual cases of misuse of NSA by authorities are brought to our attention,” Justice Mishra observed orally.

A court cannot direct the government to refrain from arresting anybody. “How can we do that? Withdraw the petition and we give you liberty to approach the court citing individual cases of misuse of NSA powers,” Justice Mishra said.

Mr. Sharma had submitted that the imposition of NSA was a ruse to scare ordinary people from expressing their fundamental right to dissent on issues like the CAA, the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register Citizens (NRC).

The lawyer argued that the January 10 notification was an affront to free speech and expression and the right to dignity. Mr. Sharma had, besides urging the court to quash the notification, sought a judicial direction to the government to pay compensation to those who were detained under the NSA for “mental agony, defamation in society and loss of reputation“.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:28:39 PM |

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