A special court in Mumbai is likely to pass its order on August 22 on an application filed by the Mumbai police seeking cancellation of bail granted to Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband MLA Ravi Rana, for alleged breach of bail conditions.
The court Thursday heard arguments by the Mumbai Police and the Rana couple, who were booked on charges, including sedition, for allegedly attempting to cause public disorder by announcing to chant Hanuman Chalisa at the private residence of former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The couple was arrested on April 23 and granted bail on May 4. Among the conditions set by the court while granting them bail was the direction to not address the press on subjects related to the case. The court order said that any breach of the conditions shall entail cancellation of their bail.
Special public prosecutor Pradip Gharat told the court that after their release, the couple had given various interviews to the media and made comments about the case. Gharat said that this should lead to their bail being forfeited. Reading out excerpts from the interviews, Gharat said that the comments made by them were all on the subject matter of the case. He also submitted that the accused had shown disrespect to the court.
Lawyer Rizwan Merchant, representing the Rana couple, denied the contention and submitted that the comments could not be said to be of the case. He also said that the prosecution had relied on selective portions of the interviews and that the court should consider the interviews in totality.
“Also, it must be taken into view that invoking Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code in the case resulted out of a political upheaval between two groups as there was a tug of war for power. Proceedings under 124A have been stayed by the Supreme Court. The charge that remains is Section 153A (creating enmity),” Merchant said. He added that it is not a matter where the accused deserve the liberty to be taken away.
He said that there have been orders in the past where the courts have given accused additional and stricter conditions instead of taking the step of cancelling their bail.
The court, while granting bail to the duo, said that the impact of political speech is greater because politicians are in a position of authority and hence should exercise responsibility.