HC pulls up police, shields Kangana, sister

HC pulls up police, shields Kangana, sister

MUMBAI: Bombay high court has granted actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel protection against coercive steps such as arrest for their allegedly inflammatory online posts on social media. The court also rapped Mumbai police for invoking sedition charges against the duo while suggesting that higher-ups in the force provide training to their personnel for a better understanding of the sedition law, in particular Section 124A of the IPC. Justice S S Shinde said it had become “routine” to invoke such a serious offence as sedition and it was being done to deter courts from granting relief to those booked.
Ranaut and her sister, who have missed three dates for appearing before the police, were told to respond to a summons but given time till January 11to make an appearance. The HC accepted a statement by their lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee, who said the sisters will appear before Bandra police on January 8 between noon and 2 pm.
The duo had petitioned HC to quash an FIR and a magistrate’s order directing registration and probe of the FIR on a complaint filed by a casting director, Munnawar Ali Sayyed. The FIR accused them of sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, and hurting religious sentiments through social media posts. Sayyed alleged that they made communally provocative remarks on social media. Ranaut claimed his complaint was “absolutely vague and baseless”.
The bench of Justices S S Shinde and MS Karnik on Tuesday asked public prosecutor (PP) Deepak Thakare why sedition under section 124A was invoked. The PP said the FIR was registered as per the magistrate’s order.

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