The Bombay High Court on Monday extended the interim relief to actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel in a sedition case, PTI reported. The court said no coercive action can be taken against the two till January 25. It also directed the Mumbai Police not to summon the two for questioning till then.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing a petition filed by the sisters, seeking to quash the First Information Report against them and an order by a magistrate court in October, on which the FIR was based.
On January 8, Ranaut and Chandel had recorded their statements at a police station in Bandra in Mumbai, complying with a previous order of the High Court.
During Monday’s hearing, Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the court that the police needed more time for questioning, PTI reported.
“She [Ranaut] left even before we could complete the interrogation, claiming she has professional commitments,” Thakare said. “We will call her again for interrogation. What is wrong in cooperating?” Thakare said more than 100 tweets of Ranaut and Chandel were required to be investigated, and it could be completed if they appear before the police for three consecutive days, reported the Hindustan Times.
To this, Justice Pitale said: “She [Ranaut] was there for two hours. Is this not enough? How many more hours do you [police] need for cooperation?”
Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for complainant Sahil Ashraf Ali Sayyed, also sought time to file an affidavit in response to the petition. The court then adjourned the matter till January 25.
Case against Ranaut
The case pertains to a first information report registered against Ranaut and Chandel, as directed by a magistrate court in Mumbai, in October for allegedly trying to create hatred and communal tension through their social media posts.
The complainant, fitness instructor and casting director Munnawarali aka Sahil Ashraf Ali Sayyed, had said an investigation was needed to ascertain the motive behind their tweets and to find out “who are the people backing such hatred to create communal tensions and sentiments against the government”. The complaint also accused Ranaut of “maliciously bringing religion in all her tweets”. He said that a divide was being created among artistes belonging to different religions.
The duo was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to committing malicious or deliberate acts with the intention of outraging religious feelings of citizens, sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language and common intention.
The sisters had then moved the High Court on November 23 seeking to quash the FIR against them.