The Bombay High Court on Thursday observed that Union Minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane “certainly did not use words respectably” against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last August. It suggested that Rane can make a statement that “bygones be bygones” to ensure “no wrong signal is given to people” and hoped that “better sense prevails”.
Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Shriram M Modak made the remarks while hearing Rane’s plea seeking that an FIR registered against him in Dhule over his remark against the CM be quashed.
On August 23, 2021, Rane had said in Raigad that he would have slapped the CM for “not knowing how many years it has been since India gained Independence”. Besides Nashik, FIRs were registered against him at Mahad, Thane, Pune, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar. Rane was arrested on August 24, last year, and later granted bail by the Mahad magistrate court.
On March 29, Rane had approached the HC stating that the Dhule Police, on March 10, had sent him notice under Section 41A of the CrPC, which mandates that the investigating officer would have to issue a notice of appearance before an arrest is made.
Rane’s lawyers requested that his pleas against Dhule Police and Nashik cyber police FIRs – arising out of the same cause of action – be tagged together and till then, interim relief be granted to him.
The HC then asked the state lawyer to check with Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and inform on Friday if there was any harm in making a statement in the Dhule FIR, similar to the one it made last September in relation to the Nashik FIR – assuring Rane protection from coercive action till next hearing.
Justice Varale said, “Although we are not in advisory jurisdiction, (Rane) occupies a responsible position and certainly words are not used respectably (by him) against another person (Thackeray) who also occupies respectable position. Why doesn’t the petitioner come forward in court and make a statement that bygones be bygones. Let us decide on being respectful to everyone. Let us not give out a wrong signal to the people.”
The judge told the state lawyer, “If we keep the petition pending, then it will only give rise to it making (it the) talk of town. We have political rights and democracy, differences of views and ideologies, but we are a state with a rich heritage.”
Justice Varale referred to two past incidents where a former CM had come down from his chamber in Mantralaya to face a protest led by a senior Opposition leader and took the leader to his chamber to hear his grievances. In another case, one of the two senior leaders contesting elections against each other went to drop both their children together. “This was our rich heritage. This is our culture. Let us hope better sense prevails in the state,” he added.
The judge also told advocates Satish Maneshinde and Aniket Nikam, representing Rane, “You are residents of Maharashtra. There is an importance in the use of words as described by saint Tukaram and the same is expected from people in social life.”
“Unfortunately words are used by both sides. Once they stop, we also stop. Let us run Centre and state together,” Maneshinde responded.
To this, Justice Varale said, “But let us give a good example to our youngsters….”
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