Bombay High Court Dismisses Plea For Action Against Ex Governor For Statements Against Shivaji Maharaj & Mahatma Phule

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The high court dismissed the plea while observing that statements were reflection of the perception and opinion of the speaker

A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Abhay Waghase has recently dismissed a plea filed against the Ex-Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Bhartiya Janta Party’s, Member of Parliament, Sudhanshu Trivedi for their remarks against Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj, Jytoiba Phule, and Savitribai Phule.

The high court said that the statements were reflections of the perception and opinion of the speaker and were made to persuade the audience

“An in depth consideration of the referred statements would tell us that they are in the nature of the analysis of history and the lessons to be learnt from the history. They also show the intention of the speaker, which is that atleast in the present times, we should learn from the history and also realize the consequences of following certain traditions and what may happen perhaps for the worst, if those traditions are followed. These statements primarily reflect the perception and opinion of speaker about those figures with an intention to persuade the audience, to whom they have been expressed, to think over and act in a way which is good for Society” the order reads.

The division bench of the High Court observed that the statements were made to enlighten Society for its betterment,

“The intention behind the statements appears to be of enlightenment of the Society for its betterment, as perceived by the speaker. These statements, therefore, cannot be seen, by any stretch of imagination, to be disrespectful to any great person, held in high esteem by the members of the Society in general and by the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in particular” the order stated

Advocate Amit Katarnaware for the petitioner, Rama Arvind Katarnaware, who is a member scheduled caste community, contended that the two respondents were “highly political” figures and only a constitutional court could issue directions for registration of offense.

The petitioner had also informed the court that he had also filed a complaint with Mumbai Police Commissioner and argued that such statements were disrespectful to historical figures who were held in high self-esteem.

The high court while dismissing the plea stated that there was no case made out by the petitioner and prima facie there was no offense

“In so far as the powers of this Court are concerned, there can be no second opinion. This Court in exercise of its extraordinary power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, can certainly issue the directions for upholding the cause of justice and this also includes registration of the FIR and if necessary, for monitoring the investigation. But, the question is as to whether or not such a power be invoked by the petitioner here? and this question we answer as in the negative. The reason being that, we do not see prima-facie constitution of any of the alleged offences on the basis of the alleged objectionable statements, a detailed discussion about which is already made by us in the earlier paragraphs” the bench observed

Case Title: Rama Arvind Katarnaware vs State of Maharashtra Ors