Union minister Narayan Rane approached the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, challenging the FIRs registered against him in parts of Maharashtra over his remarks against state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and sought protection from arrest. Rane’s petition, filed through advocate Aniket Nikam, sought the FIRs to be quashed. The BJP leader also sought an interim order granting him protection from arrest or any coercive action. The petition was mentioned before a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar, seeking urgent hearing on Tuesday itself.
The bench, however, refused to hear it and said mentioning (of the petition) was not allowed and asked the lawyer to follow the procedure. “File an application before the Registry department seeking urgent hearing and then we will consider," the court said. “Everyone has to go through the process. Don’t make us do the job of the Registry," the HC said.
The petition has challenged three FIRs lodged against Rane in Pune, Nashik and Mahad in Raigad. Nikam said the police had not followed the procedure laid down in law before taking steps to arrest Rane. “Summons under section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure has not been issued," Nikam said.
Under this section, the police, in cases where arrest is not required, can issue summons to the person for questioning. Earlier in the day, Rane approached a sessions court n Ratnagiri, seeking pre-arrest bail. The sessions court, however, refused to grant any relief, noting that the case was registered in Nashik and hence, it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the application. Rane had sparked off a row over his remarks about slapping Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence.
“It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap, Rane said during his ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ in Raigad district on Monday. The BJP leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister claimed Thackeray forgot the year of independence during his August 15 address to the people of the state. Thackeray had to check the year of independence with his aides midway during the speech that day, Rane said.
Following his remarks, a complaint was lodged against Rane by Nashik city Shiv Sena unit chief at the Cyber police station there. Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered against Rane in Nashik under IPC sections 500 (defamation), 505(2) (mischief), 153-B (1)(c) (remarks likely to cause disharmony, or feeling of enmity or hatred or ill-will), a police official said.
Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey on Tuesday issued orders for the immediate arrest of Rane after an FIR was registered against him in the north Maharashtra city over his remarks against the CM.