- Mumbai sessions court heard plea for bail of Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana, Ravi Rana.
- The court will pass its verdict on Monday, May 2 of the couple arrested in 'Hanuman Chalisa' row.
- In the court, Maha govt's side argued that the couple is using 'Hindutva' as a card.
Mumbai sessions court on Saturday heard the plea for bail of Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband and MLA Ravi Rana. The court will pass its verdict on Monday, May 2.
The couple was arrested on April 23 after they gave a call to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree.' The Ranas eventually dropped their plan, but were arrested by the police and booked for sedition and `promoting enmity between different groups. They are currently in judicial custody. While Navneet Rana is lodged in Byculla prison, her husband is in Taloja jail in neighboring Navi Mumbai.
Here are the arguments made in the court:
Arguments from the defendants, aka the Ranas
- Do I need permission to read Hanuman Chalisa outside Gateway of India, then why do I need permission to read HC outside CM's office... why am I kept in jail.
- We are elected representatives, every piece of evidence is documented
- Criticism is the hallmark of democracy... You have managed to silence me, you have managed to stop me. Criticism of government is the essence of democracy. Democracy is a criticism of the govt
- If you are afraid of any untoward incident after releasing me, you can put whatever conditions you want.
- We are not challenging Matoshree, we just wanted to go out to Matoshree but we were silenced
- We never made any statement against the Islamic community. Had we given a call to chant Hanuman Chalisa outside a mosque, I can understand that it could have fanned religious tensions but giving a call to chant it outside Matoshree doesn't fan any communal tension:
- My act was not sedition... it would not be right to keep me in jail. violence was never my intention
- Only having an intent to commit a crime can't be punished. Executing some intent and committing an offense can be punished. There is a difference between attempt & preparation.
Arguments made by the govt's side
- Yes, everybody has a right to criticize democracy. But, there is a limit. Precaution should be taken and when these limits are crossed then comes the sedition charge. The limit was crossed when you wanted to recite Hanuman Chalisa with thousands of others.
- The case is not about reciting Hanuman Chalisa. It is about reciting it outside Mathoshree. There could've been a law and order problem.
- The defendants gave an example of London. Hanuman Chalisa is sacred, yes, but it can't be recited anywhere. Permission should be taken before going to any place.
- Hindutva is being used as a spade card in this country as the majority are Hindus. This is a sensitive issue, and the efforts being made by the government are very weak. The defendants are using Hindutva as a card to bring the Thackeray government down, as they think they can show that this govt is against Hindus. The issue is not Hanuman Chalisa.
- They have used offensive language against Maharashtra's CM Thackeray and made provocative statements outside Mathoshree.
- Why didn't they think about their 8-year-old daughter before marching towards Mathoshree?
- If someone says that chanting Hanuman Chalisa is their right, it is. But we've to see if the act is legal, permissions & consent are taken by the person at whose residence chanting will be done... ultimate aim was to create a situation where this govt collapses: SPP Pradeep Gharat while representing the police
- This couple is booked in several cases. We have mentioned these criminal antecedents in our reply as well. MLA Ravi Rana has been booked in 17 cases earlier & MP Navneet Rana in 6 cases. An attempt to murder charge is on Ravi Rana: SPP Pradeep Gharat