Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday sought opinion from the law and judiciary department and the advocate general of the state to see if the more stringent criminal sections applied against the govinda groups that violated the apex court order could be withdrawn.
Fadnavis’ move comes after BJP city chief Ashish Shelar made a presentation to him saying while the govindas can be booked for contempt of court, the police had applied certain stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code, including section 308, 336, 118 and 34 that refer to attempt to commit culpable homicide, endangering life of others, disobedience of order by public servant, which could affect their career too.
While the BJP followed the apex court order on dahi handi, both the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena supported mandals or groups defied these orders. Consequently, 29 mandals in Mumbai and 20 in Thane face criminal action. The MNS sided with the mandals to tap into the local sentiment of youngsters, ahead of the civic polls. The MNS’ stance isolated BJP in a way, as the ruling party could not support the youngsters openly.
Shelar’s letter to CM states many govindas, as young as 14, were recuperating in KEM hospital. He said many of them committed the offence without realising the consequences and the state should look at it in a humanitarian way.
The BJP is hoping to win some brownie points by withdrawing the stringent provisions.