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Bombay High Court refuses to quash the FIR registered against Amravati MP Rana couple

Bombay High Court refuses to quash FIR registered against Amravati MP Navneet Rana, her husband MLA Ravi Rana

The Bombay High Court today refused to quash the FIR registered against Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana for allegedly resisting arrest in connection with the recital of Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence in Mumbai.

On Saturday, the Khar Police had booked the couple under various sections of the IPC dealing with sedition and promoting enmity between groups besides some provisions of the Bombay Police Act dealing with disruption of law and order situation in the city.

A second FIR was registered on Sunday under IPC Section 353 for alleged assault of a public servant to prevent him/her from doing official duty. Advocate Riyaz Merchant, appearing for the petitioners, argued that the second FIR was an abuse of process and was meant to harass his clients.

He said, the inordinate delay of three hours stands testimony to the foul play, adding that if the section related to sedition could be added in the first FIR, then the one related to assault of officials could also have been added in the same FIR.

He claimed that the second FIR was registered to ensure that the couple remains in jail. Special Public Prosecutor Pradip Gharat, however, submitted that the couple refused to cooperate with the Police and gave statements in visual media that might have created a law and order situation in Mumbai.

A Bench of Justices P. B. Varale and S.M. Modak observed that the Rana couple tried to breach the personal liberty of a person, in this case the Chief Minister, by making a statement that they would recite religious verses outside his residence.

The court said, the Police is justified in its apprehension that it could have created a law and order problem. Taking exception to the Rana couple’s conduct, the court said, the petitioners, being politically active, are expected to behave responsibly.

The court said, the two FIRs relate to separate incidents and dismissed the petition for quashing of the second FIR. The court, however, directed the investigating agency that it must serve 72 hours notice to the couple, if they wish to initiate any action against them in the second FIR.

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