news Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute| March 12, 2015| 11.00 pm IST

The Delhi High Court has pronounced its verdict on a plea filed by Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai, challenging her offloading on January 11 at the airport in the national capital.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher has told the government to quash the lookout circular in Pillai's name and also to expunge the "off loaded" remark on her passport. The court had reserved the order in the case on February 19.

Pillai objected to the government's move of offloading her when she was on her way to London to brief British parliamentarians on the rights of forest-dwelling communities affected by coal mining.

The Greenpeace activist said she has the fundamental right to express her opinion on issues, both nationally and internationally.

"There is no law that has been invoked by the government to justify their action of preventing her from exercising her fundamental right of speech and expression before members of parliament in Britain," she told the court.

The central government had earlier told the court that Pillai was "involved in anti-national activities" and that was why she was offloaded at the airport. The central government had offloaded Pillai and also issued a Look Out Circular (LOC), against which she has moved the court.

Advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for Pillai, argued that the LOC was issued "without any authority of law".

Priya Pillai

The high court had earlier termed as "inappropriate" the central government's decision to prevent Pillai from leaving India on the ground that she would project a negative image of the country at the international level.

In her petition, she 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 on January 14.

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

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