Court rejects Raj Thackeray's petition

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{image-raj thackeray01mumbaiviolence_25022008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Mumbai, Feb 25: Even as the ban imposed on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray from holding rallies or 'dharnas' expires from the midnight of February 25, a local court has rejected his review petition saying the government, if it wants to extend the ban, must follow the appropriate legal procedures.

Additional Sessions judge S N Sardesai, while rejecting Raj Thackeray's review petition, observed that the ban imposed upon him was maintainable. However, if the Government wants to extend the ban, it will have to follow the proper legal procedure, the court observed. While rejecting the petition and upholding the maintainability of the ban, the judge observed that the deputy commissioner of police had issued the ban orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in order to maintain law and order in the city. The judge observed that violence had spread across the city following a provocative speech by Raj Thackeray against the North Indians.

Raj Thackeray, it may be recalled, had challenged the ban. His counsel Ashok Mundargi had contended before the court that prior to imposing the ban, his client had not been served any show cause notice. His client, therefore, did not get an opportunity to explain his side, Raj Thackeray's counsel had told the court while contending that this was a violation of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.

Replying to the defence argument, additional public prosecutor R V Kini contended that there was no time to serve the show cause notice as the tension had spread in the city and elsewhere in the state. The violence continued for a week before the ban order was passed, the additional public prosecutor told the court while informing that 22 cases of rioting and assault were registered against MNS activists in the city.

UNI

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