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Supreme Court orders release of Chaturvedi

Legal Correspondent

Goondas Act detention set aside


  • Supreme Court judges point out that the detention order passed on December 15, 2004 ends on Wednesday
  • Counsel says same High Court Bench had set aside detention orders against Sundaresa Iyer and others in Sankararaman murder case

    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order passed by the Tamil Nadu Government under the Goondas Act to detain Venkata Saravanan alias Chaturvedi Swami and ordered his release forthwith.

    A Bench of Justice B.P. Singh and Justice Altamas Kabir allowed a special leave petition filed by Chaturvedi Swami challenging a Madras High Court judgment upholding his preventive detention for one year.

    The Bench in its brief order said the detention order passed on December 15, 2004 was coming to an end on Wednesday.

    "We set aside the detention order and we direct the appellant to be released forthwith unless his custody is required in some other case," the Bench said and added that it would give detailed reasons later.

    Senior counsel K.T.S. Tulsi and S. Ravi Shankar appeared for the petitioner, while Gopal Subramaniam and Subramonium Prasad appeared for the State.

    On October 27, the apex court had dismissed the petition because of the non-appearance of the advocate but subsequently it was restored and heard on Monday and judgment was reserved.

    Mr. Tulsi argued that the same Division Bench of Justice M. Karpagavinayagam and Justice C. Nagappan that had set aside the detention orders against Sundaresa Iyer and others, accused in the Sankararaman murder case involving the Kanchi Sankaracharya, had taken a diametrically opposite stand and upheld the detention against Chaturvedi.

    Mr. Tulsi argued that the detention order was passed only to prevent him from coming out on bail.

    There was no mention in the detention order on the incident that gave rise to a problem of public order, counsel said and sought quashing of the impugned judgment dated April 25.

    Enough material

    Mr. Gopal Subramaniam, however, maintained that there were enough materials to show that the action of the accused was prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.

    He said the State was compelled to take action following receipt of complaints of devotees against the `god man' and sought dismissal of the appeal.

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