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Bombay HC declines interim relief to woman booked for remarks against Thackerays, State says it will not arrest her if she cooperates

Orally observing that the Constitutional right to free speech was not absolute, the Court refused interim protection from arrest to a woman booked by the Mumbai and Palghar police for the allegedly offensive remarks

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

After orally observing that the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution of India was not an absolute right, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused interim protection from arrest to a woman booked by the Mumbai and Palghar police for the allegedly offensive remarks.

The woman has been accused of making certain statements against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Tourism and Environment Minister in the Maharashtra State Government, Aaditya Thackeray (Sunaina Holey v. The State of Maharashtra).

Justices MS Karnik and SS Shinde accepted the State government’s oral assurance that the woman would not be arrested at least for two weeks if she cooperated with the probe and duly presented herself at the Azad Maidan police station in Mumbai and Tulinj police station in Palghar district for questioning.

In its order, the Court records the petitioner's undertaking, submitted to Court by her counsel Dr Abhinav Chandrachud that she would present herself at the police stations for questioning.

The Assistant Public Prosecutor JP Yagnik had submitted that the woman was not cooperating with the investigation. She was not responding to Notices directing her to appear before the investigating authorities at Azad Maidan and Tulinj Police Stations for questioning, he had submitted.

The State has been granted two weeks to submit an affidavit-in-opposition to the woman's petition before the High Court.

The case will be taken up next on September 29.

Read the Order here:

Sunaina Holey v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. - Order dated September 11, 2020.pdf
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