TAMIL NADU

Denial of radio use a violation, Vaiko tells HC

CHENNAI JULY 26. The MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and lodged in the Vellore central jail since July 12, has petitioned the Madras High Court for directing prison authorities to permit him to have a radio set on the premises.

Noting that his request had not been considered at all, Mr. Vaiko said ``not granting permission for using radio is denial of his right to get information and is violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which provides for freedom of speech and expression''.

Just because they were in judicial custody, undertrials should not be deprived of all fundamental rights, he said, and pointed out that the accused in the `Rajiv Gandhi assassination case' were provided with even television sets in the Poonamallee sub-jail. In the Chennai central prison also undertrials were permitted to have television sets.

This being so, it was unreasonable on the part of the Inspector-General of Prisons to deny him radio, Mr. Vaiko said. Describing the denial as unreasonable restriction imposed on him, the MDMK leader said that as a sitting MP he needed to listen to news bulletins in order to keep track of social and political developments.

A radio set was not a prohibited article under the Tamil Nadu Prison Manual, which permitted supply of books and journals to special class undertrials at their own cost. Broadcasting was another source of getting information, Mr. Vaiko said.

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