BJP Leaders Nitesh Rane, Geeta Jain Face Criminal Cases For Alleged Hate Speeches, Maharashtra Govt Informs Bombay HC

BJP Leaders Nitesh Rane, Geeta Jain Face Criminal Cases For Alleged Hate Speeches, Maharashtra Govt Informs Bombay HC

The court had last week asked the commissioners of police of Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar (MBVV) to personally examine videos of speeches of the leaders and take appropriate decisions.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 11:37 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File

Mumbai: The State government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that prima facie speeches given by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain during the violence at Mira Road in January were offensive and thus criminal cases have been registered against them.

The court had last week asked the commissioners of police of Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar (MBVV) to personally examine videos of speeches of the leaders and take appropriate decisions.

Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar told a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande that the police Commissioners were prima facie of the opinion that cases for hate speech are made out after they viewed the videos.

Following the prima facie observations, cases were registered against the MLAs under section 153 A of Indian Penal Code which is for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Cases have been registered at Mira Bhayandar in Thane district against Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain under 153 A and 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration). Additionally, a case has been registered against Rane at Mankhurd and Ghatkopar as well.

Besides, a case under section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC has been registered against Rane at Malvani police. The case was initially lodged only against one Bhagwan Thakur. In Malvani too section 153 A has been added.

Petitioners’ advocates Gayatri Singh, Vijay Hiremath and Hamza Lakdawala pointed out that section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) should also have been added.

Advocate Karim Pathan, appearing for another petitioner, told the bench that several incidents of violence occurred between January 22 to 26 in Mira Road. Venegaonkar submitted that so far 13 cases have been registered and investigation in those cases are ongoing. The HC has asked Venegaonkar to file an affidavit providing steps taken and kept the matter for hearing on June 19.

The HC was hearing a petition seeking action against Rane, Jain and BJP legislator T Raja for delivering hate speeches, following which violence took place in Mira Road and Malwani area, few days before the consecration of the Ram idol in Ayodhya.

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