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Draconian laws foisted on people: former SC judges

Draconian laws such as the National Security Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act are being foisted upon people in “cooked-up” cases to keep them detained for a couple of months, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan B. Lokur, said in a webinar on Sunday.

The webinar, ‘Our Article 21 Fundamental Right Not To Be Framed By The State’, organised by academic Mohan Gopal saw several former judges and prominent personalities take part.

Former apex court judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik, said there is “at present a fear among many that they may be falsely framed.”

Akshardham attack case

Justice Patnaik said motives for framing a person might be many, but laws had sufficient safeguards. The court should not take cognisance of cases mechanically. An innocent person might be deprived of his life and liberty. Justice Patnaik referred to how the accused persons, all belonging to one community, were acquitted by the Supreme Court in the 2002 Akshardham terror attack case after 12 years.

Justice Lokur referred to how Dr. Kafeel Khan was detained for his speech under the National Security Act. The Allahabad High Court set aside his detention, saying a complete reading of his speech showed he deprecated violence and called for national integrity and unity of citizens.

“A person says don’t indulge in violence and he is put under detention for endangering the unity of the country. If you talk about national security, you are endangering the security of the country,” Justice Lokur said.

“It is alright to say compensation will be given. Compensation, according to me, must be given. But that is not the answer. There is a lot of mental trauma involved,” Justice Lokur said.

The former judge said the number of sedition cases were on the rise annually, but the rate of conviction was almost zero.

Former apex court judge, Justice A.K. Sikri, said subversion starts in a legal manner. There will be nothing seemingly illegal. The first thing to curtail will be the freedom of speech, he said.

Former Supreme Court judge, Justice J. Chelameswar, said “it is the sincere and faithful enforcement of law that is relevant. So long as sincerity is lacking, any amount of law-making will only remain in paper.”

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 1:21:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/draconian-laws-foisted-on-people-former-sc-judges/article32718775.ece

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