Chennai: The Madras High Court directed the authorities on Wednesday to destroy over 1,700 copies of books written by pro-Tamil leader Pazha Nedumaran in support of the banned LTTE in 2002, holding that if returned, these could lead to disturbance and threat to peace and public tranquillity.
Justice M V Muralidharan gave the direction while upholding a lower court order dismissing Nedumaran's petition seeking that the books be returned.
He was dismissing an appeal filed by Nedumaran against the March 2, 2007 order of the first additional sessions judge here.
Noting that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was a terror group that was behind the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and was decimated by the Sri Lankan military in 2009, the judge said the Centre had declared it as an unlawful association and the ban had been periodically extended.
If the books were returned to the appellant, naturally, he would circulate those among the general public, he said in his order.
"...there is every possibility of the general public or the buyers of the books getting persuaded by the principles of the banned organisation and causing disturbance and threat to the peace and public tranquillity," he added.
Nedumaran and others were arrested in 2002 for publishing books in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil Eelam (separate state for Tamils) and the LTTE, which was fighting for it, and the same were confiscated by the Tamil Nadu police.
A case was registered and the chargesheet filed in September, 2005.
However, the state government withdrew the case a year later, following which Nedumaran had filed a petition before the sessions judge, seeking that the seized books be returned.
He had contended that the books were meant to be distributed in foreign countries and as the government had withdrawn the case, no purpose would be served in keeping the books in the custody of the police.
The first additional sessions judge had dismissed the petition, saying if the books supporting Tamil Eelam were circulated, it would cause a great injury in the minds of the readers and the peace and tranquillity of the public would be disturbed.
Challenging this order, Nedumaran had moved the high court.
Upholding the lower court's order, Justice Muralidharan said there was no rule that properties like books seized from an accused must be returned on his acquittal, more particularly when they were in support of an outfit banned in the country.
Concurring with the submissions of state Advocate General Vijay Narayan, he said section 452 of the CrPC gave the court a very wide discretion to choose any one of the modes of disposal of seized articles.
"I am of the view that the trial court, after analysing the rival contentions of both sides, rightly dismissed the petition filed by the appellant. The order of the I Additional Sessions Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai, is well founded. There is no merit in this appeal and the same is liable to be dismissed," the judge added.