Court reserves order on Raj Thackeray's application till Monday

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Mumbai, Feb 22 (UNI) A local court today reserved its order till Monday on the application of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena(MNS) chief Raj Thackeray challenging the ban imposed by the city police restraining him from holding rallies, ''dharna'', ''morchas'' and addressing media.

After hearing the argument of both the parties, Additional Sessions Judge S M Sardesai reserved the order.

Senior counsel Ashok Mundargi, who is representing Mr Thackeray, told the court that the concerned magistrate failed to issue show cause notice before passing the order under section 144 (3) of CrPC.

He added that no opportunity was given to his client to explain his side and there was no emergency to put a ban on movement of Mr Thackeray.

He said for the past 20 days, Mr Thackeray did not hold any rally, ''morcha'' and ''dharna''adding that this was the violation of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and the fundamental rights of the citizens, he added. He appealed to the court to quash and set aside the said notice.

Replying to defence argument, Additional Public Prosecutor R V Kini said there was no time to serve the notice to the application as tension prevailed in the city and some other parts of the state following his provocative speech against North Indians. The violence continued for a week before passing the order, about 22 cases of rioting and assault were registered against MNS activists in the city, he said.

If the applicant felt that he was not heard, the concerned authority was ready to hear him, he said.

The city police had slapped a notice on February 11 under section 144 (3) of CrPC, restraining the MNS chief from holding rallies, ''morchas'', ''dharna'' and press conference till February 25. After reviewing the situation, the ban could be extended to six months.

UNI ST NM MS AS1727

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