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'File Separate Petitions For All FIRs'- Bombay High Court Directs Narayan Rane On 'Slap Remark' Row Involving Uddhav Thackeray

Sharmeen Hakim
17 Sep 2021 11:47 AM GMT
File Separate Petitions For All FIRs- Bombay High Court Directs Narayan Rane On Slap Remark Row Involving Uddhav Thackeray
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The Bombay High Court on Friday orally asked the Union Cabinet Minister Narayan Rane, 69, to file separate petitions for all the FIRs against him over his derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard Rane's amended plea under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash and grant protection in five the FIRs against him following his...

The Bombay High Court on Friday orally asked the Union Cabinet Minister Narayan Rane, 69, to file separate petitions for all the FIRs against him over his derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard Rane's amended plea under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash and grant protection in five the FIRs against him following his press conference in Mahad on August 23.

The state had earlier agreed not to take action against Rane only in the Nashik Cyber Police casetill Friday, as copies of the remaining FIRs were not annexed to the petition. On Friday, the protection in the same FIR was continued till September 30, the next date.

During the hearing, the State's counsel said that since the matter was to be heard virtually, Senior Advocate Amit Desai was not present. Therefore he sought an adjournment.

The prosecutor also showed his inability to make a statement to protect Rane in the remaining FIRs as sought by his advocates, Senior Counsel Ashok Mundargi and Anikat Nikam.

Justice Shinde then said the FIRs are in different police stations and therefore separate petitions should be filed.

Rane had sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping CM Thackeray over what he claimed was the latter's ignorance of the year of India's independence. FIRs were registered against Rane at Jalgaon, Nashik, Mahad, Pune and Thane.

On August 24, Rane was granted bail by a Magistrate in Mahad hours after his arrest in the Mahad FIR. In its order, the court said that his arrest was 'justified' but custodial interrogation was not required.

Referring to FIR filed by the Nashik cyber police for offences punishable under Sections 153(B) (1)(C) (provoke to riot), 500 (defamation), 505(2), 504, 506(criminal intimidation), 189 (threat of injury to public servant) of the IPC, Rane states,

"That the Commissioner of Police Nashik instead of following due process of law is absolutely working as per the guidance and under the pressure of the ruling party in the state of Maharashtra."

In the petition, Rane further contended that he was accused of offences below seven years, hence compliance with Section 41A of the CrPC(notice to join the investigation) was necessary.

The ex-CM of Maharashtra also contended that section 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the IPC was not attracted. For the section to apply, it is mandatory that the words uttered must have the potentiality to cause enmity between groups based on religion, caste or community.

Rane alleged that the FIRs infringe his fundamental rights of freedom of speech granted under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

Case Title: Narayan Rane v. State of Maharashtra

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