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HC quashes stay on Raj's gag order

Bombay HC sets aside the stay on gag order against the MNS chief who had unleashed a tirade against N Indians.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2008 01:11 AM IST

Bombay High Court on Friday set aside the stay on gag order against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray who had unleashed a tirade against North Indians.

A sessions court, which admitted Raj's plea challenging the extension of order by police on Thursday, had stayed it. The High Court quashed the stay taking into consideration the fact that the order, as it is, will expire on Monday. Raj's lawyers said they will apply to the sessions court to take up his application on Saturday.

Earlier, defending extension of the order (passed on February 11 originally), Advocate General Ravi Kadam said Raj's anti-north Indian campaign had led to migrants from UP and Bihar fleeing en masse from some cities.

Kadam cited Raj's open letter to Home Minister RR Patil published in a local daily as well as a press release he had issued condemning Bihar's legislators for targeting Governor RS Gavai, who hails from Maharashtra, to justify police's fear that he will cause further trouble if the order was lifted.

After February 11, 47 cases of rioting had been registered against MNS workers, Kadam said. "He was determined to contiune (his activities)."

Police were, however, ready to give him a hearing, he said. However, Raj's lawyer Shirish Gupte noted that it was mandatory for police to give a person a show-cause notice before the prohibitory order was passed. No hearing was given to Raj prior to extension order of February 25, he said.

Further, Gupte argued, "When the order is to be extended, the state has to issue notification. No such notification exists."

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