Mumbai: Both Mumbai Police and actress Kangana Ranaut found themselves at the receiving end of the Bombay High Court, on Tuesday. First, the HC asked Mumbai Police to "apply its mind" before "applying any law", especially before slapping sedition charges on any citizen. Later, the HC reminded Kangana that just like all other Indians, her fundamental rights too were not absolute but came with certain reasonable restrictions.
The HC has now ordered Kangana and her sister Rangoli Chandel to appear before Bandra Police on January 8 and cooperate in the probe. The police, on the other hand, have been asked not to arrest the duo, who are booked for creating communal animosity and sedition.
A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Makarand Karnik voiced its concern over the trend of slapping sedition charges in every second case.
"This is a disturbing trend. In almost all such cases, you slap sedition," Justice Shinde remarked, adding, "Is this how you (police) treat your citizens? By slapping sedition?"
The judge further asked Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakre why the police had invoked sedition against Kangana and her sister.
"We think you (Mumbai Police) must conduct workshops for your officers. Train them on invoking provisions of law, especially in such cases," Justice Shinde said.
"Your officers need to be more sensitive and protect dignity in such cases. They must be trained to apply their minds before invoking any law, especially a serious one as sedition," the judge remarked.
In a lighter vein, Justice Shinde said, "Just because someone doesn't fall in the line with the government, they must not be charged with sedition."
The bench further pulled up Kangana for her tweets. "Every citizen has fundamental rights and these come with reasonable restrictions. No citizen, even your client, cannot claim these rights are absolute," Justice Shinde observed.
"Each citizen is expected to ensure that when they are exercising their rights, they must not infringe the fundamental rights of others. Your rights cannot hurt others' rights," Justice Shinde rebuked Kangana.
The bench accordingly ordered Kangana not to post any tweet or make any statement on social or electronic media regarding the present FIR.
The judges even slammed Kangana for not obeying the summons served to the duo thrice. "You didn't obey the summons thrice and now seek time to appear before the police. You cannot expect the police to work as per your convenience," Justice Shinde remarked.
The bench was dealing with a writ petition filed by Kangana and Rangoli seeking to quash an FIR lodged against them on the orders of a magistrate court.