Mumbai/Shirdi, Jul 11: The Bombay High Court has allowed dropping of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name from the list of respondents in a PIL which had challenged gifting of an unsheathed sword to him during Maharashtra assembly election campaign last year. "Learned counsel for the petitioners seeks leave to delete respondent 2 (Modi).
Leave to delete respondent 2 is granted," said justices S V Gangapurwala and V K Jadhav of the Aurangabad bench of the HC in their order on July 8. Petitioner's counsel Pradnya Talekar sought time to file a rejoinder to the affidavits filed by respondents.
The matter was adjourned to July 22. The court was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ahmednagar-based activists Sanjay Kale and Sandip Kulkarni. According to the petition, at a campaign rally in Rahuri in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, Modi was presented with an unsheathed sword.
"The model code of conduct was operational from September 15 to October 21....Gifting/presenting of open swords, which is an arm, is in violation of the code of conduct and also the Bombay Police Act and Arms and Ammunitions Act," the PIL said.
Also, at a rally in Kopargaon, swords were gifted to Aditya Thackeray of Shiv Sena and Snehalata Kolhe of BJP, it said. "Gifting of open swords, apart from being violative of the law, also raises serious concerns about the security of the Prime Minister and other leaders," the petition claimed.
It prayed for a direction to the Centre, the state government and the Election Commission to initiate an inquiry against senior police inspectors of Rahuri and Kopargaon for alleged negligence and a court directive to end the custom of gifting swords to political leaders at rallies.