‘Rights supreme, but India’s image shouldn’t be dented’

A home ministry official said the decision to issue a LOC against Pillai was not a sudden one and she had been under the watch of intelligence agencies for long.

Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | Published: March 13, 2015 2:40:48 am
Priya Pillai outside Delhi High Court, Thursday. (PTI) Priya Pillai outside Delhi High Court, Thursday. (PTI)

After the Delhi High Court set aside the lookout circular (LOC) against Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, which led to her offloading from a London-bound flight in January, Minister of State (MoS), Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said the government can appeal against it.  He added that while fundamental rights of an individual are supreme, India’s image should not be dented.

“I have asked for a report from the foreigners division on the court’s order. We will examine it and if required we can also appeal against it. Nothing has been decided so far. We understand that fundamental rights are supreme and we will honour the court’s order too. We understand that people can have different views but India’s image should not be dented.”

He further said, “We will have to see the full order of the High Court to see how it came to such a conclusion.”

There was no reaction from Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who took a flight to Japan to attend a disaster management conference late Thursday night, but senior ministry officials said they were examining the order.

A home ministry official said the decision to issue a LOC against Pillai was not a sudden one and she had been under the watch of intelligence agencies for long. He also added that the ministry was divided on the decision to issue the LOC against Pillai and it was unlikely that even after examining the order, the government would decide to go appeal against it.

“Opening an LOC against Pillai was unreasonable. It is true, there was a concern over her action to go to a foreign country and brief the UK parliamentarians on the Mahaan coal block issue. We have to be careful against putting any restrictions on the democratic rights of an individual,” said the official.

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