Sedition charge: Kangana Ranaut, sister to appear before police in January
After receiving a rap from the Bombay high court, actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel agreed to appear at the Bandra police station where an offence has been registered, charging them with sedition.
The counsel for the sisters, advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, assured the bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik that Ranaut and her sister will appear before the investigating officer of the case between 12pm and 2pm on January 8, 2021.
They will, however, not be arrested, as the high court has temporarily restrained the police from taking any coercive action against the Bollywood actor and her sister.
The statement about their appearance before police came after the judges questioned as to why they did not appear before the police despite summons.
“We gather from news reports that now a third summons has been issued to the applicants,” said the bench.
Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare responded to a court query on the issue, saying the third summons asked them to appear on November 23, but they haven’t honoured the summons.
Siddiquee then pointed out that all the three summons had been answered. He said the actor and her sister could not come to the police station because of a wedding in the family. According to the Covid-19 guidelines, they have to remain isolated for a certain number of days after the wedding, he added.
“What is the procedure? What do you mean by you have answered the summons?” the bench asked Siddiquee. “How do you answer summons... by sending letter to police by post. Are police bound to wait for your convenience?” the judges sought to know. “You have to honour the summons,” they insisted.
Siddiquee then took specific instructions from Ranaut and Chandel and informed the court that they will return to Mumbai on the first weekend of January 2021 and appear before the investigating officer on January 8.
The actor and her sister moved the Bombay high court on Monday, challenging the October 16, 2020 order of a magistrate court in Bandra on the basis of which an FIR was registered against them at Bandra police station for allegedly “creating hatred between Hindus and Muslims, especially those engaged in Bollywood.”
The Bandra police on October 17, 2020, booked the sisters under sections 124(A) (sedition - to bring or attempt to bring into hatred or contempt, or excite or attempt to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise), 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class, by insulting it’s religion or religious beliefs) along with section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The magisterial order had come on a complaint lodged by casting director Munawarali aka Sahil Sayyed. The magistrate directed the Bandra police to take action under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as he felt that a thorough investigation and search and seizure was necessary in the matter.
Sayyed, in his complaint to the magisterial court, had alleged that Ranaut has, through her tweets and television interviews, continuously defamed the Hindi film industry by portraying Bollywood as a hub of nepotism, favouritism, drug addicts, communally biased people, murderers etc.
The casting director further alleged that her sister Chandel, who also works as her manager, has also tweeted highly objectionable messages, intended to create communal rift.