The Bombay High Court on Monday continued till January 25 the interim protection from any coercive action by the Mumbai Police granted to actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel in a sedition case registered against them for alleged hate posts.
The court also directed the police not to summon the sisters for questioning till the next hearing on January 25.
Ranaut and her sister had appeared before Bandra police on January 8 to record their statements in the case as per assurance given to the HC last November.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing the sisters’ plea – filed through advocate Rizwan Siddiquee – seeking the quashing of the FIR lodged against them while challenging the Bandra magistrate’s order asking the Mumbai Police to take cognizance of the complaint filed against them and summons issued to them to appear before the police.
Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare, appearing for the Mumbai Police, told the HC on Monday that the duo had appeared before the police on January 8 between 1 pm and 3 pm.
Justice Pitale said, “She (Ranaut) was there for two hours, which should be enough. How many more hours do you (police) need for cooperation? What is the duration you are expecting?”
To this, Thakare said that the police want to question Ranaut for three more days.
“The earlier interim relief shall continue till then. The police shall not call the petitioners till that day,” the bench said in reply.
Justice Shinde further said this is not the only case that the Bandra police is investigating. “You can utilise this time for some other cases. Police have other matters to investigate too. Till that time, do not call her (Ranaut) again.” Reiterating his earlier remarks, he said that he had serious reservations about invoking Section 124A (punishment for sedition) of the IPC.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for the complainant, and Thakare, told HC that despite an assurance given by Ranaut during an earlier hearing, she had posted several remarks on Twitter, including one on the day she went to the police station. “She went to the extent of saying that she is being tortured,” Merchant said, adding that orders be passed against such posts.
The HC said that it would consider all the issues and arguments on January 25.
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