The Bombay High Court today came down heavily on the Maharashtra police for registering 11 FIRs against former MP and NCP leader Anand Paranjpe for protesting against Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and P K Chavan noted that the police will learn a lesson only when a cost is imposed on them and they are directed to pay the same from their own salaries.
Paranjpe had filed a petition in the high court seeking for all the FIRs to be clubbed.
Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde on Friday told the court that the police would not take any coercive action against Paranjpe in all the 11 FIRs till January 18, when the matter is heard.
Appearing for the NCP leader, advocates Suhas Oak and Vinod Utekar said the 11 FIRs arise from a single cause of action, which was a political agitation.
Government pleader Shinde said the offences registered against Paranjape were bailable and he could apply for bail in all the cases.
The bench then asked why an accused should apply for bail in each of the 11 cases, when there should not have been so many cases in the first place.
“This has to stop. Ultimately who suffers is common man,” it said.
“There should be costs imposed on cops. Only when costs are recovered from their salaries will they learn,” it added.
As per Pranjape’s plea, he had organised a protest in Thane district against the chief minister, following which an FIR was registered against him on December 12, 2022 at Shrinagar police station.
Later, CM Shinde’s supporters registered 10 more FIRs at different police stations, but within the jurisdiction of the Thane police commissionerate, the plea stated.
It was alleged that the protestors had defamed the chief minister and uploaded a video of the agitation on social media like Twitter to create unrest and riots in the state, as Paranjape knew that there are innumerable followers/supporters of the chief minister and they would get offended and resort to rioting.
Paranjape claimed that the FIRs registered against him are identical and arising out of the alleged incident, tweet and cause of action.