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Home / India / Gag order would be illegal: Raj Thackeray

Gag order would be illegal: Raj Thackeray

In response to a show-cause notice, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said a gag order would violate his fundamental rights, reports Sunil Shivdasani.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2008, 00:41 IST
Sunil Shivdasani
Sunil Shivdasani
Hindustan Times

A gag order would violate his fundamental rights, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said on Saturday in response to a show-cause notice.

The police notice to Thackeray had come in the middle of the week in the wake of the party agitation for Marathi signboards on shops.

It was the third time the police sought to impose a gag order on Thackeray.

In his reply, a copy of which was with the Hindustan Times, Thackeray questioned the appropriateness of a police order prohibiting him from speaking in public.

He said the grounds mentioned were not sufficient to warrant the order and such an action would amount to infringement of his personal liberty, violating constitutional rights.

“The sanctity of a person and his privacy have to be maintained at all costs and cannot be allowed to be violated in the name of maintenance of law and order,” Thackeray said to the police. “The rule of law requires no person shall be subjected to harsh, uncivilised or discriminatory treatment even when the objective is to secure paramount exigencies of law and order.”

The leader also said the show-cause notice was illegal since it did not specify the period during which he had to observe restraint.

He added that the circumstances mentioned in the show-cause did not talk of any public emergency as contemplated by Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, under which the police had sought to issue the restraining order.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dadar, B.U. Bhange, in his capacity as special executive magistrate, had issued the show-cause notice to Thackeray on Wednesday.

The notice asked Thackeray to present within three days any reasons he would like to put forward against the issuance of an order to restrain him from indulging in acts that may cause law and order problems in the state in view of Ganeshotsav, Ramzan and Navratri.

The first gag order on Thackeray was issued from March 14 to 25 after he had made public speeches asking north Indians in the city and the state to restrain themselves and not make a show of their “political power”.

The order was extended from March 25 to April 3, and Thackeray challenged it in the sessions court, which stayed it. The state moved the Bombay High Court in appeal, which was rendered infructous because the period mentioned in the order had expired.

The latest police notice to Thackeray comes a week after the high court questioned his authority to ask shopkeepers to display the name of the establishment in bold letter in Marathi.

The high court had also asked the state government what action it was contemplating against Thackeray for issuing letters to shopkeepers on the issue.

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