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Breaking: [Hanuman Chalisa Row] Navneet Rana & Ravi Rana Granted Bail By Mumbai Special Court

Sharmeen Hakim
4 May 2022 6:01 AM GMT
Breaking: [Hanuman Chalisa Row] Navneet Rana & Ravi Rana Granted Bail By Mumbai Special Court
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The Mumbai Special Court on Monday allowed the bail applications of independent MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana in the sedition FIR over forcibly wanting to chant the hanuman chalisa outside the personal residence of Uddhav Thackarey, Chief Minister of Maharashtra.The bail is subject to execution of personal bonds of Rs. 50,000 each. They have also been directed not to...

The Mumbai Special Court on Monday allowed the bail applications of independent MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana in the sedition FIR over forcibly wanting to chant the hanuman chalisa outside the personal residence of Uddhav Thackarey, Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

The bail is subject to execution of personal bonds of Rs. 50,000 each. They have also been directed not to address the press on any subject that relates to this case.

In case of breach of any condition, bail shall be cancelled forthwith. 

On April 23, the Khar police booked the Ranas under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc), and 124A (sedition), besides provisions of the Bombay Police Act.

Opposing the bail duo's bail application the Mumbai Police claimed that their intention behind wanting to chant the Hanuman Chalisa was for collapse of law and order in the state to the extent that a recommendation for dissolving the Maha Vikas Agadhi Government in Maharashtra can be made.

It may be noted that the Shiv Sena was a long time ally of the BJP in Maharashtra. However, during the last election it formed an alliance with the NCP and the Congress (MVA).

"BJP leaders who have been deprived from power are strongly opposing the administrative policies of the present government and criticizing Shiv Sena," the police's reply said.

The police represented by SPP Pradeep Gharat further claimed that an attempt was being made to show that the government is anti-Hindu, increase hatred for other religions and cause a rift.

He added that the couple's interviews till the day they were arrested on April 23, 2022, 'crossed limits of fair criticism permitted by law in a democratic country' and are within the ambit of section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code since they intended to create public disorder.

Conversely, in the bail plea filed through Rizwan Merchant and Associates the couple claimed that they had no intention to promote violence and that the government cannot afford to be "hypersensitive" and impervious to criticism.

The defence led by Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda along with Advocate Rizwan Merchant mentioned not wanting to chant the religious verse using loud speakers, animal slaughter and difference between thinking of rape and actually committing the offence.

In lighter vein towards the end of the hearing Ponda said that everything was avoidable had the CM said he would also pray the Hanuman Chalisa.

... If the topmost of the state had said, come and I will also read the hanuman chalisa... What would have happened? Nothing. He would have got a populist vote that he is such a great Hindu..."

On Saturday, Ponda submitted that section 124A of the IPC was not applicable, especially since they didn't end up praying the Hanuman Chalisa.

"What is sort to be punished is an idea. It is connected with someone's religious beliefs. If there was an idea about slaughtering an animal outside someone's house then it cannot be allowed. But where everyone is Hindu here and someone just wants to recite the Human Chalisa..," senior Advocate Aabad Ponda had argued adding it was not like the recital was planned outside a Mosque.


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