A petition has been filed by two minor children before the Supreme Court seeking the release of their father, Congress leader Sachin Choudhary, who has been detained since April 11 for allegedly "holding a press conference and questioning the methodology" of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.
Filed by Choudhary's two minor children, aged about 2 and 7 years respectively, through their mother, the petition seeks the release of Choudhary who has been in jail since April 11 in connection with an FIR registered under Sections 66A, 67 of the Information Technology Act and Sections 188, 269 to 271, 153, 124A of Indian Penal Code as well as Section 56 of the Disaster Management Act.
The blame in the plea has been squarely placed on the Government of NCT of Delhi and the UP Government for their alleged failure in containing the spread of Coronavirus, which apparently compelled Choudhary to take to the Delhi-Moradabad Highway to provide food to stranded and starved migrants. It has been contended in the plea that the deeds of Choudhary gave impetus to his popularity, which thereby "irked the local leaders of the ruling political party".
The plea also contends that the political affiliation of Choudhary is responsible for him being detained:
"Father of the petitioner is affiliated to Congress Party, the chief opponent of the ruling party and due to vendetta and political vengeance, he has been arrested and the registration of the FIR is stage managed," it says.
The petition goes on to assert that the Choudhary was detained, without being appraised of his offence or being allowed to avail legal remedies, and it was only later on that the Amroha Police registered an FIR against him for "holding a press conference highlighting the infirmities in the measures taken by the State". The plea states that the conduction of the press conference was well within the contours of the democratic and fundamental rights of Choudhary to question the actions of the government.
The plea highlights the mental agony and depression being faced by the minor children and the family as there is no male family member apart from Choudhary. Additionally, not only is there no legal forum, apart from the Apex Court, that could be approached by the Petitioners due to the lockdown, there is also no veracity in the allegations that have been made in the FIR.
"It is respectfully stated that due to lockdown and curfew the doors of administration of justice of jurisdictional courts are not ajar. There is no male member in the family of the petitioners and they are surviving with their mother and grandmother, who is very old and ailing. Due to complete restriction on the movement, nobody is able to meet their incarcerated father and get vakalatnama executed. Hence, left with no option, present petition is filed by two minor kids of jailed Sachin Choudhary," says the plea, as per the report published by LiveLaw.in.
The matter is listed for hearing on Thursday before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde.