HC notice to centre on offloading Greenpeace activist

Last Updated 28 January 2015, 06:37 IST

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the centre on a plea filed by Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai challenging her offloading Jan 11 at the airport here.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the home ministry, Bureau of Immigration and the IB and asked them to file their responses by Feb 6.

Approaching the court, Pillai said her offloading was "illegal and arbitrary" and she had a valid business visa for six months to visit London where she was scheduled to address British parliamentarians Jan 14.

"The illegal offloading by over-zealous government agencies is not just a violation of her basic right to personal liberty and freedom of speech but is also deliberate attempt to malign her reputation," senior advocate Indira Jaisingh appearing for Pillai told the court.

The advocate also sought interim relief to travel to London saying Pillai is invited to attend a meeting there Feb 11.

Pillai also challenged the alleged lookout circular issued in her name.
"The circular has no legal basis as Pillai neither has any conviction against her, nor has she ever evaded arrest or trial in any case," the plea said.

It further said her reputation and work were being "targeted" by the government and urged the court to issue an appropriate order to "expunge" the endorsement "offload" on her passport and also issue an order to set aside the lookout circular against her at the earliest.

Pillai was invited by British MPs to talk about her campaigning with local communities in Mahan in Madhya Pradesh, where a proposed coal mining project is threatening to uproot the lives and livelihood of the forest community.

The high court recently ordered the central government to unblock Rs.1.87 crore of Greenpeace India funds that were frozen. The funds were blocked by the Reserve Bank of India following a June 2014 home ministry directive that the NGO challenged in court.

(Published 28 January 2015, 06:37 IST)

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