The Bombay High Court on Monday clubbed all first information reports against Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale and student Nikhil Bhamre for putting up allegedly derogatory social media posts about Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, reported Live Law.
All the 22 FIRs against Chitale have now been clubbed with the first one lodged at Kalwa police station in Thane. In Bhamre’s case, all the six FIRs have been clubbed with the one at Thane’s Naupada police station.
The Maharashtra Police had arrested Chitale on May 14 after she shared a poem purportedly written by another person on Facebook. The poem mentioned the Nationalist Congress Party chief’s last name and referred to a person aged above 80. The social media post said that “hell is waiting” for Pawar, and made references to his illness and appearance.
Chitale was granted bail in June.
Bhamre, a pharmacy student, was also arrested in May for allegedly posting provocative tweets about Pawar. In his tweet, Bhamre had written that the “time has come for Baramati’s Gandhi... to create Nathuram Godse of Baramati”.
Pune district’s Baramati is Pawar’s home city. The pharmacy student, however, had not mentioned the name of any politician.
He was also released on bail in June.
On Monday, a division bench of Justices NM Jamdar and NR Borkar took note of a Supreme Court order that held that in case of multiple FIRs on the same matter, the first case lodged can be considered as the main one and the remaining cases can be considered as witness statements, reported PTI.
The judges were hearing petitions filed by Chitale and Bhamre seeking to quash the FIRs against them.
The court also directed the Maharashtra government and all complainants in the case to file their affidavits in response to other pleas filed by Chitale and Bhamre seeking compensation for wrongful arrest and for their arrest to be declared illegal.
Chief Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai, representing the Maharashtra Police, said she did not have any objection if the FIRs were clubbed.
The matter has been posted for hearing in September.