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Bombay HC dismisses plea of MP Navneet Rana, husband MLA Ravi Rana to quash FIR in Hanuman Chalisa row

On Sunday, a second FIR was filed against the Ranas under IPC Section 353 for alleged assault on a public servant to prevent him/her from doing official duties, to which the Ranas objected and moved the court.

The Bombay HC Monday dismissed a petition filed by independent MP Navneet Rana and MLA Ravi Rana who had earlier moved the court seeking quashing of the second FIR. The second FIR was filed against the duo for resisting their arrest over the row to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Matoshree, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s family home. The plea was dismissed by a bench of Justices PB Varale and SM Modak, who stated that it was “devoid of merit.”

While dismissing the plea, the Bombay HC bench observed, “The people who are active in public life have greater responsibility…Great power comes with greater responsibility… The expectation of a response… is not an extra expectation… This is the minimum expectation … These are two independents and not a part of a series of events… We see no reason on merit to indulge…”

The Ranas were arrested on Saturday under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, etc.) and 124A (sedition), which was allegedly added subsequently, as well as provisions of the Bombay Police Act. On Sunday, a second FIR was filed against the Ranas under IPC Section 353 for alleged assault on a public servant to prevent him/her from doing official duties, to which the Ranas objected and moved the court.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant, who represented Navneet and Ravi Rana, contended that the second FIR constituted an abuse of process and that the subsequent addition of the charge was unsustainable.

“My clients were arrested for 153A (incitement) and Bombay Police Act. Later,124A (sedition) was added, then why could they not add 353 (assault of a public servant) when it all occurred at the same time?” said Adv Merchant.

The Bombay HC, however, dismissed the plea filed by the duo but asked the Maharashtra government to give 72 hours’ notice to MP Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana in case it proposes to initiate action against them in the second FIR which is registered for resisting arrest.

MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana were earlier arrested by Mumbai police for planning to recite Hanuman Chalisa before Matoshree, the family residence of CM Uddhav Thackeray. Though they had later withdrawn their plan, the duo was arrested from their home. Charges of sedition were also pressed against them.

They were produced before Bandra Court on Sunday (April 24) and sentenced to 14 days in judicial custody. Both of them were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups), 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and Section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act (violation of prohibitory orders).

The couple has been sent to 14-day judicial custody. While Ravi Rana, the Badnera MLA was shifted from Authur jail to the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai on Sunday (April 24) night, his wife Navneet Rana was taken to Byculla women’s jail.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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