Lawyer and Human Rights Defender
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 21st June, regarding the arbitrary arrest of lawyer and human rights defender Mr. Vanchinathan. He is also a member of the recent Save Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) Movement. He has been very closely associated with the anti-Sterlite movement in Tuticorin.
On June 20, 2018, at 11:45 PM, Mr. Vanchinathan was arrested at the Chennai airport. He had returned from New Delhi after ensuring that the stay petition filed in the Supreme Court by the former Vice-Chancellor of MKU was dismissed.
Prior to his arrest on June 20, 2018, he had filed a petition for anticipatory bail in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court which came up for hearing on June 18, 2018. It was pronounced dismissed by an oral order of Justice G.R. Swaminathan. However, in the absence of any written order, the Kovilpatti PS inspector was present at the airport to arrest Mr. Vanchinathan upon his arrival in Chennai.
According to the first affidavit filed by the state Mr. Vanchinathan had only three criminal cases pending against him. However, the high court after hearing the state counsel in the morning on June 18, 2018, granted further time till 2:15 PM to file another counter affidavit. It is in this counter affidavit alone the state stated that there were eight other cases against Mr. Vanchinathan, all in Thoothukudi North, Central, South, SIPCOT and Railway Protection Force registered in the years 2012, 2015 and 2016 and that all these cases are in the FIR stage. Even in all these of cases, there is no offence for punishment of over seven years. It was only after receiving this additional counter affidavit, the high court dismissed orally the anticipatory bail petition. The written order is still awaited.
HRDA prayed for thorough investigation and to take immediate actions on the perpetrators of the case.