BJP MLAs Nitesh Rane, Geeta Jain booked for hate speech: Police to HC | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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BJP MLAs Nitesh Rane, Geeta Jain booked for hate speech: Police to HC

BySahyaja MS
Apr 24, 2024 09:33 AM IST

Maharashtra Police register criminal cases against BJP MLAs Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain for alleged hate speeches in Mumbai; court directs action by June 12.

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Police on Tuesday informed the Bombay high court that criminal cases have been registered against BJP MLAs Nitesh Rane and Geeta Jain after reviewing recordings and transcripts of alleged hate speeches delivered by them in various places including Malwani, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar in Mumbai and Mira Bhayandar.

Mumbai, India - August 06, 2022: BJP leader Nitesh Rane addresses the media during a press conference at BJP Office, Nariman Point, in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, August 06, 2022. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - August 06, 2022: BJP leader Nitesh Rane addresses the media during a press conference at BJP Office, Nariman Point, in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, August 06, 2022. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)

Four FIRs have been filed against Rane in Mira-Bhayander, Govandi, Malvani, and Ghatkopar police stations, while one FIR has been registered against Jain in Ghatkopar, the police told the court. The MLAs have been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups on the ground of religion etc), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with other relevant penal provisions.

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Public prosecutor Hiten Venegavkar informed the court that 13 cases had been registered in connection with the violence that erupted in Mira Road between January 22 and January 26, 2024. Subsequent to this, the division bench comprising justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Deshpande directed the state government to file an affidavit by June 12, indicating whether the accused would be charged under section 295A of the IPC, which pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any community by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by five Mumbai residents seeking action against MLAs Nitesh Rane, Geeta Jain, and T Raja Singh for allegedly delivering hate speeches and inciting violence. The petitioners, represented by Gayatri Singh, Vijay Hiremath, and Hamza Lakdawala, highlighted that no first information reports (FIRs) had been registered against the three leaders.

The petitioners claimed that despite citizens’ complaints, the local police had failed to take action, violating the Supreme Court’s mandate which requires authorities to take suo motu action against hate speech regardless of the speaker’s religion. The petition also underscored the police’s inaction despite media reports on the matter.

Previously, the court had directed the Mumbai and Mira-Bhayandar police commissioners to review recordings and transcripts of alleged hate speeches and inform the court regarding the possibility of registering FIRs against the accused.

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