Uddhav Thackeray’s private residence in Mumbai.
Their counsel Rizwan Merchant said that the couple had decided to withdraw their bail plea pending before the Bandra magistrate court that had remanded them to 14-day judicial custody on Sunday, a day after their arrest. Merchant said the suburban Khar police had initially booked the Ranas on the charge of promoting enmity between different groups. At the time of their remand, the police had informed the magistrate court that they had added the charge of sedition against the couple in the first FIR.
He said the charge of sedition under 124 A of the Indian Penal Code carried a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum punishment of life term. Therefore, bail for an offence of sedition was outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate court. Therefore, the Ranas decided to withdraw the previous application (pending in the magistrate court) and filed a fresh bail plea before the sessions court, Merchant said.
The magistrate court had scheduled the bail hearing for April 29. Navneet Rana, the Lok Sabha MP from Amravati in eastern Maharashtra, and Ravi Rana, the MLA from Badnera, had eventually dropped their plan to recite the Hanuman Chalisa (hymns dedicated to Lord Hanuman) on Saturday outside Thackeray’s private residence in suburban Bandra, citing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mumbai for an event.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court Monday dismissed a writ petition filed by lawmaker couple Navneet Rana and Ravi Rana, arrested under various charges in connection with the Hanuman Chalisa controversy, seeking that one of the two FIRs registered against them under section 353 of the IPC be quashed.The court said the petitioners and all others occupying public positions must act more responsibly and show respect towards other public persons.
“As is often said, with great power comes great responsibility,” a bench of Justices P B Varale and S M Modak observed, adding they found no merit in the plea filed by the Rana couple. The bench, however, said that if the police decide to arrest the Ranas or take any other coercive action against them based on the second FIR, it must give them notice of 72 hours.