The Bombay High Court Tuesday directed the Mumbai Police to not take any coercive action till further notice against actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel, who had challenged a magistrate court’s order to Mumbai Police to take cognisance of their alleged hate posts on social and electronic media.
“We are of the prima facie opinion that till the matter is heard at length, ad-interim protection deserves to be granted to sisters and no coercive steps be taken by police till then,” a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik noted.
The court also accepted the statement made by the sisters’ lawyer that they will appear before the Bandra Police Station on January 8 between 12 and 2 pm.
On Monday, Ranaut had moved the HC challenging the Bandra Metropolitan Magistrate’s order to Mumbai Police to take cognisance of the alleged hate posts made by her and her sister Rangoli on Twitter and in statements given in interviews. The sisters challenged the summons issued to them by the police and also sought quashing of the FIR against them.
Last month, the Bandra court had ordered the police to investigate a complaint filed by Munawwar Ali Sayyed, a Bollywood casting director and fitness trainer, which referred to Ranaut’s and Chandel’s tweets and other statements.
On the direction of the court, the Bandra police filed an FIR, which states that through their tweets, the sisters tried to “malign the Indian Constitution and image of the Maharashtra government, hurt sentiments of Muslims and tried to create division between Hindus and Muslims”. The FIR was registered under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), 295A (deliberate acts hurting religious sentiments) and 124-A (sedition).
Kangana and her sister have been summoned by the police three times in connection with the FIR but they have failed to appear so far. Last week, the police had summoned the sisters for the third time to record their statements on November 23 and 24.
Ranaut, who has been critical of the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government, had also criticised the Mumbai Police, saying she did not trust it.