HC quashes detention of PG student under Goondas Act

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Chennai: The Madras High Court today quashed the detention under the Goondas Act of a 23-year-old post- graduate student, who was arrested for “instigating” her fellow students against the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government.

A division bench of justices A Selvam and Pon Kalaiyarasan quashed the July 17 order of the Salem police commissioner detaining Valarmathi, a journalism student of the Periyar University in Salem, under the stringent Goondas Act.

Allowing a petition filed by the father of the student challenging the detention, the bench said the relatives or friends of the detenu were not informed of her arrest.

“There has been a delay in disposing of the representation made by the detenu. Hence, the detention order is quashed,” it added.

The petitioner had contended that the detention of his daughter, who was “fighting peacefully for a people’s cause”, was “malice in law”.

Valarmathi was arrested from Salem on July 12 when she, along with another student, was allegedly distributing pamphlets, seeking support for a protest against the implementation of a proposed hydrocarbon project in Pudukottai district.

Five days after her arrest, charges under the Goondas Act were slapped on her with the police alleging that the pamphlets distributed by her contained slogans which were harmful to the interests of the nation.

The invoking of the stringent Goondas Act against the student was condemned by several opposition parties and forums.

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