“Why haven’t you prosecuted Bal Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray?” asked Justice J.N. Patel while hearing a suo motu public interest
litigation against political vandalism.
The HC had converted former city police chief Julio Rebeiro’s letter into a PIL.
The court has given Additional Chief Secretary, Home, two weeks to file an affidavit explaining government action against political vandalism. “If you don’t want to prosecute them [leaders], then say that in the affidavit. And pay compensation to those whose properties are damaged,” said Justice Patel.
Additional government pleader Niranjan Pandit gave instances of state action. “In the attack on Hotel Intercontinental in January 2009, we acted against [Shiv Sena leader] Sanjay Raut and collected Rs 7.8 lakh from the party.”
Pandit said the government fined MNS activists for damaging the registrar's office at Mumbai University last January and sent a notice to Congress leader Narayan Rane’s supporters for vandalising a Marathi daily’s office in 2009. “What about Rane? What about Raj (Thackeray)?” asked Justice Patel. “Leaders mean top leaders who decide the policy of their party. You are not interested in prosecuting them.”
When Pandit said the Supreme Court has asked for a link to be established between leaders and agitators, Justice Patel said: “…Bal Thackeray will have to think now. People are doing goondagiri (hooliganism) in his name and spoiling his name.”