Now Sat goes after the DPP

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Sanatan Dhar­ma Ma­ha Sab­ha (SDMS) sec­re­tary gen­er­al Sat­narayan Ma­haraj have filed for an in­junc­tion seek­ing to block the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) from in­sti­tut­ing sedi­tion charges against him pend­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of his nov­el con­sti­tu­tion­al chal­lenge against this coun­try’s colo­nial-age sedi­tion leg­is­la­tion.

Ma­haraj’s lawyers filed the in­junc­tion ap­pli­ca­tion yes­ter­day, af­ter DPP Roger Gas­pard, SC, failed to re­spond to sev­er­al re­quests over the is­sue, last week.

In the ap­pli­ca­tion, Ma­haraj is con­tend­ing that the High Court has the pow­er to make or­ders to pro­tect the rights of cit­i­zens pend­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of their law­suits over their fun­da­men­tal con­sti­tu­tion­al rights.

The ap­pli­ca­tion is ex­pect­ed to be heard by High Court Judge Frank Seep­er­sad at 1 pm to­day. Ma­haraj’s most re­cent re­quest for a stay of crim­i­nal charges came hours af­ter po­lice ex­e­cut­ed a sec­ond search war­rant at the com­pound of the SDMS’s me­dia com­pa­ny Cen­tral Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, last Thurs­day.

The first was ex­e­cut­ed in April af­ter Ma­haraj made a se­ries of in­cen­di­ary state­ments on his Ma­ha Sab­ha Strikes Back pro­gramme on TV Jaagri­ti on April 15. Ma­haraj claimed that cit­i­zens liv­ing in To­ba­go were lazy and la­belled the men as rapists. The Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Au­thor­i­ty of T&T (TATT) is­sued a warn­ing to Ma­haraj and the com­pa­ny over the com­ments, which is now be­ing chal­lenged by them in a sep­a­rate law­suit. Ma­haraj and the com­pa­ny have al­so ini­ti­at­ed le­gal pro­ceed­ings against the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) over fail­ing to dis­close the war­rant used for the search.

In a con­sti­tu­tion­al mo­tion law­suit, Ma­haraj’s lawyers are claim­ing that the leg­is­la­tion, which was passed in 1920 and amend­ed sev­er­al times, be­tween 1961 and 1976, breached cit­i­zens’ con­sti­tu­tion­al rights to free­dom of thought and ex­pres­sion, freead­om of the press and free­dom of as­so­ci­a­tion and as­sem­bly.

Reporter: Derek Achong

 

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