The Supreme Court on Wednesday stalled Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s imminent arrest by staying a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a Jharkhand trial court against him.
As per the warrant, Thackeray was supposed to appear before the court on January 10. The warrant was issued against him for instigating Maharashtrians against north Indians in the state.
Suspending the arrest warrant, the bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan granted exemption to Thackeray from appearing personally before the trial judge in Jharkhand.
The bench also issued notices to the eight complainants who have lodged criminal cases against Thackeray in various courts of Bihar and Jharkhand on the MNS leader's petition seeking transfer of all the cases to one trial court. Fearing a backlash, Thackeray has requested the Supreme Court to let the cases be tried in any state except Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Of a total of eight cases against Raj, six have been lodged in various courts of Jharkhand, while two are in Bihar courts.
The complaints against Thackeray have been lodged under Sections 504, 153A and 153B of the Indian Penal Code, seeking his prosecution for making defamatory speeches against north Indians staying in Maharashtra and triggering disharmony between two communities through his inflammatory speeches respectively.