Plea seeks release of activist

A habeas corpus petition was filed before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday seeking the release of 50-year-old human rights activist R.S. Mugilan, who is currently lodged at Madurai Central Prison, allegedly in solitary confinement.

The petitioner, J. Stefen Selvaraj of Tiruchi, claimed that several false cases were foisted against his friend for speaking in support of pro-environment agitations, particularly against Kudankulam atomic power project.

Mugilan was recently transferred from Palayamkotai Central Prison to Madurai Central Prison without any reason and was kept in solitary confinement, which was against Article 21 of the Constitution, he said.

He alleged that Mugilan was kept in unhygienic conditions in the prison as there was an open septic tank behind his block. He had to encounter bad odour and mosquitoes as a result. Though a complaint was made, it was not addressed by the jail authorities.

Action must be taken against the prison authorities for not ensuring hygienic conditions at the prison, he said.

A division bench of Justices C.T. Selvam and A.M. Basheer Ahamed directed notice to the respondents, including Madurai prison authorities, and posted the case for further hearing.

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