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SC order on age limit for terror law

New Delhi, April 8: The Supreme Court on Friday told a batch of petitioners to approach their respective high courts to challenge incidents involving arrests of children below 14 and the elderly above 80 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The order comes as the anti-terror law’s constitutional validity is under challenge.

A division bench of Justices S.N. Variava and B.N. Agrawal gave the petitioners “liberty to initiate appropriate proceedings” in the high courts concerned after counsel Chanchal Ganguli urged the apex court to decide the cases of such indiscriminate arrests and non-judicial application of the law across the country to prevent conflicting verdicts from high courts.

He mentioned Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as states which were misusing the law. Ganguli cited the arrests of Gaya Singh, 12, and Raj Nath Mahato, 81, in Jharkhand under the anti-terror law.

“The Act is a draconian legislation providing for stringent laws combating terrorism and, therefore, it is in the interest of the public and law enforcing agencies that the Act should be used judiciously so that innocent people are not harassed,” he told the court.

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