The Bombay High Court on Mondayextended the interim relief of no coercive action againstactor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel tillJanuary 25 in connection with an FIR registered against themunder sedition and other charges.
The HC also directed the city police not to summon theduo for questioning till then.
Ranaut and her sister appeared before Bandra police inMumbai on January 8 for recording their statement in the case,pursuant to an assurance given to HC in November last year.
The FIR, under sedition charges and for allegedly”trying to create hatred and communal tension” through theirposts on social media, was registered pursuant to orderspassed by the Bandra magistrates court, directing the policeto carry out an inquiry against Ranaut and her sisterfollowing a complaint lodged against them.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and ManishPitale was hearing a petition filed by the sisters, seeking toquash the FIR and the order passed by the magistrate onOctober 17 last year.
Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the court onMonday that the petitioners appeared before the police onJanuary 8 from 1 pm to 3 pm.
“She (Ranaut) left even before we could complete theinterrogation, claiming she has professional commitments. Wewill call her again for interrogation. What is wrong incooperating,” Thakare said.
To this, Justice Pitale said, “She (Ranaut) was therefor two hours. Is this not enough? How many more hours do you(police) need for cooperation?” Thakare then said the police want to question her forthree more days.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for complainantSahil Ashraf Ali Sayyed, sought time to file an affidavit inresponse to the petition.
The court then adjourned the matter till January 25.
“The interim relief by way of no coercive actionagainst the petitioners shall continue till then. The policeshall not call the petitioners till that day,” the court said.
Justice Shinde then said this is not the only case theBandra police have.
“The police can investigate other cases until then,”he said.
The court also reiterated its remarks made on the lasthearing over the polices action of invoking Indian Penal CodeSection 124(A) for sedition in the case.
“We anyways have serious reservations about invokingsection 124(A) in this case,” Justice Shinde said.
Merchant and Thakare told the court that despite anassurance given by the petitioner (Ranaut) that she would notpost anything on her social media pertaining to this case,Ranaut posted several messages on Twitter, including one onthe day she went to the police station.
“She went to the extent of saying that she is beingtortured,” Merchant said.
The court said it would consider all these issues onJanuary 25.
The sisters in their plea have termed the magistratesorder as “arbitrary and perverse”. Their petition said themagistrate passed the order without “proper application ofmind”.
The petition sought that the HC quash the magistratesorder and the FIR lodged by the Bandra police.
The plea also sought interim orders to the police tonot take any coercive steps against the sisters and stay thesummons issued to them.
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