Court upholds right to have different opinions on development issues
Yogesh Rajput | March 12, 2015
Upholding the right to different opinion on development policies, the Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the government lookout circular that had prevented environmental activist Priya Pillai from visiting the United Kingdom. The court observed that the government cannot muzzle dissent in a democracy, the court upheld the activist’s right to travel abroad.
“The court told the government to remove my name from its database which consists of names of people who cannot travel abroad. Secondly, it has told the government to quash and set aside the lookout circular issued against me and also to expunge my passport entry which says offload,” Pillai told Governance Now.
Pleased with the court’s decision, Pillai said a strong message has been sent to the Centre. “I think it is a very strong message to the government that democracy cannot be taken for granted and voices of dissent will be respected in this democracy,” the Greenpeace activist said.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher also said Pillai has every right to hold a different opinion on development policies and this cannot be the sole ground to restrict her movement.
Pillai had approached the High Court over being stopped from travelling
It has directed Bureau of Immigration to expunge the endorsements made on the activist's passport while offloading her from a flight on 11 January while she was going to London to make a presentation before British MPs on alleged human rights violation at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh.
The court, however, declined to order inquiry against officials involved in her offloading and told Pillai to move an appropriate bench for any compensation claim.
No clear reason was provided by immigration officials as well as the home ministry to Pillai on the treatment meted to her. Pillai thereafter moved the Delhi high court contending that her fundamental rights were being curtailed.
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This piece is based on a previous article by the authors published in Geoforum [Elsevier] in May 2019: available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0016718519300764?via%3Dihub
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