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Mumbai Sessions Court Stays Summons To WB CM Mamata Banerjee In Case Alleging Insult To National Anthem

Sharmeen Hakim
25 Feb 2022 4:01 PM GMT
Mumbai Sessions Court Stays Summons To WB CM Mamata Banerjee In Case Alleging Insult To National Anthem
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The Sessions Court of Greater Bombay at Mumbai stayed the operation of a summons issued by the a Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Sewree against the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in a case of alleged disrespect and insult to the Indian National Anthem during an official visit to Mumbai in December 2021. On an application under Section 156(3) of the CrPC made...

The Sessions Court of Greater Bombay at Mumbai stayed the operation of a summons issued by the a Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Sewree against the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in a case of alleged disrespect and insult to the Indian National Anthem during an official visit to Mumbai in December 2021.

On an application under Section 156(3) of the CrPC made by one Vivekanand Gupta (Secretary, BJP Mumbai), it was alleged that the Chief Minister, while addressing a civic society, sang the first two verses of the National Anthem in a seated position, and then third and fourth verse while standing, and then abruptly left the venue – thereby insulting and disrespecting the Indian National Anthem, and attracting Section 03 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971.

The Metropolitan Magistrate vide Order dated 21 December 2021, rejected the application under Section 156(3) of the CrPC, however, treated the application as a private complaint, and proceeded to take cognizance of the offence. On February 1 2022, the Metropolitan Magistrate issued summons to the Chief Minister to appear before the Metropolitan Magistrate on March 2, 2022.

Magistrate PI Mokashi observed that a sanction was not required to issue process against Banerjee even though she is a Chief Minister as the function was not an official function since no government officials were present.

"Thereby, though the accused is Chief Minister of West Bengal she was not discharging her official duties. Thereby this act of accused though she is the Chief Minister of West Bengal does not come under her official duty. Therefore, sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against accused," the magistrate had noted.

The order of issuance of process passed by the Magistrate was challenged by the CM before the Sessions Court of Greater Bombay, by way of a Revision Application.

Sessions Judge Rahul Rokade, heard advocate Majeed Memon, representing the CM, at length. Upon consideration of the various grounds argued by Memon, the Hon'ble Sessions Judge was pleased to stay the operation of the summons issued by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate and called for the records and proceedings of the lower court to examine its legality and propriety.

The matter is now adjourned for 25 March 2022 for appearance of the original complainant before the Sessions Court.

Memon vehemently argued before the Sessions Judge that the allegations made by the Complainant in his application before the MM did not attract the offence (of prevention and disturbance) under the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971, and that the findings of the MM were riddled with a plethora of infirmities.

The Sessions Judge observed in his orders that "the Applicant has put up an arguable case" and therefore, was inclined to grant a stay on the proceedings before the lower court.

Mr Memon was instructed by Mr Zulfiquar Memon, Mr Waseem Pangarkar, Mr Sabyasachi Banerjee, Mr Abishek Ganesan, Mr. Mateen Qureshi, Mr. Khalil Girkar, Mr. Tapeesh Jain and MZM Legal LLP.


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