May be some Maharashtrians won’t like to be called ‘Ghati’ to their face, but would it amount to an offence under the Indian Penal Code?
This is what Bombay High Court will have to decide, as a writer has approached the court seeking to quash a police case he is facing over the use of this term in his novel.
The word ‘Ghati’ is derived from ‘Ghat’ (uplands) and is a sort of colloquial term for Maharashtrians in Mumbai. In Breathless In Bombay, the novel written by Marzban Shroff, one of the characters uses this term in a derogatory sense while referring to Maharashtrians.
After the novel was published, one Vijay Mudras filed a private complaint with the Magistrate, saying the word was “inflammatory” and may create disharmony between two groups.
Magistrate then directed N M Joshi Marg police station to register an FIR against Shroff. The Case was registered against him for “causing disharmony, enmity” between two groups, under Section 153 (b) of IPC.
Now Shroff has filed a petition in the High Court, seeking to quash the police case. He argues that he never meant of insult anybody, and his work was just a fiction.
Justice S A Bobde, who heard the case today, gave respondents two weeks to file a reply, and asked police not to take any “coercive action” against Shroff now.