The Bombay high court has directed Sunaina Holey, a resident of Navi Mumbai, who has been booked by the Mumbai and Palghar police for making offensive remarks on social media against chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and state minister and his son Aaditya in July to appear before the Cyber Cell of Mumbai police at Bandra Kurla Complex on November 2.
The Navi Mumbai resident has approached the high court to quash the FIRs against her. Earlier, the court had directed a Nagpur resident Sameet Thakkar booked under similar charges to cooperate with the investigation and appear before the cyber cell at the BKC as well.
A division bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik, while hearing the application of Holey to quash the three FIRs registered against her, was informed by assistant public prosecutor JP Yagnik, appearing for the state government and police, that three FIRs were registered against Holey after several persons – including Rohan Chavan, a member of Yuva Sena – lodged complaints against her for the offensive remarks.
Holey was booked under sections 505 (Punishment for statements conducting public mischief) and 153 (A) (Punishment for promoting enmity between different religious groups) of the Indian Penal Code and other provisions of the IT Act.
Yagnik further submitted that though Holey had been issued notices under section 41-A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), she had not appeared before the concerned investigating officer of BKC Cyber Police station in Mumbai and hence sought directions of the court to make her do so at the earliest.
Advocate Dr Abhinav Chandrachud, appearing for Holey, said his client was unwell and hence could not appear on the earlier occasion but was willing to report to the BKC Cyber Cell on November 2. The court accepted the same and asked her to be present at 11 am.
Earlier in September, Holey had moved the court seeking protection in the form of an application for pre arrest bail. The court had however refused to grant her protection after the police had assured the court that Holey would not be arrested if she was willing to cooperate and report to Azad Maidan and Tulinj police station, respectively. After she failed to report to the said police stations, the investigators sought her presence at the BKC Cyber Cell.
After hearing the submissions and accepting the assurance of Holey, the court observed, “Job of police officers is difficult during these times. Sometimes they have more than 12-hour shifts. Then they have to do bandobast for morchas and processions. With all these odds, the Mumbai police is considered as one of the best in the world after Scotland Yard.” In light of this, the bench observed that Holey was expected to extend cooperation and her lawyer agreed to it.