The Madras High Court on Thursday stayed a one-year rigorous imprisonment sentence awarded by a special court in Chennai against Marumalarchi DMK leader and Rajya Sabha member Vaiko in a sedition case.
Justice P D Audikesavalu stayed the sentence on an appeal filed by Vaiko against the verdict given by a special court for MLAs and MPs. The court had held Vaiko guilty of having made a seditious speech on the launch of the Tamil translation of his book” I accuse” in which he warned that India’s integrity would be imperilled if it assisted Sri Lanka in its war against the LTTE in 2009 in which thousands of innocent civilians died.
Admitting Vaiko’s appeal and staying the sentence, Justice Audikesavalu adjourned the case by four weeks. Before adjourning the hearing, the judge cautioned Vaiko not to speak about the issue till the disposal of his appeal. Vaiko, however, said such a restriction was not imposed even when he was granted bail in a POTA case arising for his support to the outlawed LTTE.
“In that case, think twice before speaking”, the judge remarked. The lower court’s verdict came a day before Vaiko filed his nomination to the Rajya Sabha as a DMK supported candidate in the biennial election from the Tamil Nadu.
As sedition is not listed as an offence that will disqualify a candidate, Vaiko’s nomination was accepted and he has since been elected to the Rajya Sabha.
With his beta noire and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy baying for his blood, Vaiko has moved high court to get a stay before entering the Rajya Sabha.