The decision that the expectation of responsible behaviour or responsible conduct from those persons who are active in public life cannot be an extra expectation but would be a basic expectation was decided by the Bombay High Court through the Division Bench of Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice S.M. Modak in the case of Navneet Ravi Rana v. State of Maharashtra (WRIT PETITION NO. 1286 OF 2022).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petition was filed to vacate an FIR filed for the commission of an offence under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Petitioner’s Counsel stated that the offence has now been recorded under Section 153-A read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as Sections 37(1) and 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act. Both petitioners were stated to be involved in social and political activities. Petitioners alleged that they planned to recite religious lyrics from the Hanuman Chalisa in front of the personal house of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The Police addressed the petitioners and advised them not to engage in such actions, and a Notice under Section 149 was issued as a result.
Despite the serving of the notice, both petitioners made comments in the visual media, which caused fear in the society, and the petitioners and statements’ actions and statements led to severe danger to law and order, resulting in action being taken against the petitioners. According to the report, the police authorities proceeded to arrest the petitioners; however, when the petitioners opposed the aforementioned act and prevented the Police Officials from carrying out their responsibilities, the crime was under Section 353of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was committed.
The petitioners’ declaration that they would recite religious verses either in the personal residence of another person or in a public place is, according to the High Court, not only a breach of another person’s personal liberty but also an encroachment upon another person’s personal liberty; and, secondly, if a declaration is made with specific religious verses to be recited on the public street, the State government is justified in carrying an arrest warrant.
Furthermore, observing that the second F.I.R. was registered against the Petitioners, attracting Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 if the State Government desired to initiate any action, including the action against the Petitioners pursuant to the F.I.R., the State Government officials must provide the Petitioners with 72 hours’ notice before taking such action.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY