The state government on Thursday assured the Bombay high court (HC) that it will not take any action pursuant to the First Information Report (FIR) registered against BJP MLA Ashish Shelar
Shelar has filed a petition seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him for allegedly making objectionable comments on Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar in light of a gas cylinder blast at Worli in a press conference on December 4. The court while issuing notice to the police and Pednekar made an oral suggestion that as both Pednekar and Shelar held responsible public offices, they should settle the issue amicably.
The division bench of justice Prasanna Varale and justice Anil Kilor while hearing the petition of Shelar was informed by advocate Rizwan Merchant that his client was a sitting MLA representing Bandra (West) constituency and was actively involved in public life. Merchant submitted that if any action was initiated against Shelar pursuant to the report he would be subjected to serious prejudice and hence sought interim reliefs.
In December 2021, while interacting with the media, in reference to the Worli gas cylinder blast, Shelar had slammed the mayor for her alleged delayed response in reaching out to the victims. He had asked if Pednekar had been sleeping for 72 hours. The mention of the word “sleeping” had invited sharp rebuke from ruling parties. Thereafter on December 8, Pednekar had filed a complaint against Shelar at the Marine Drive police station. Shelar was booked under sections 354 (A) (4) (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
While seeking interim reliefs on Thursday, Merchant said that his client had merely held a press conference pertaining to the unfortunate incident at Worli and said that it was unfortunate that his statement was misled to lodge an FIR.
After hearing the submissions, the bench orally suggested, “Considering the factual scenario, the petitioner is MLA, the respondent is also holding a responsible position in these trying Covid times. She is also the first citizen of the city of Mumbai… Why do you not solve it amicably, it will not send a good picture (in public). Such incidents do occur in public life. Responsible persons are also expected to have a choice of words.”
Thereafter, additional public prosecutor J P Yagnik for the state on instructions gave an assurance to the court that no steps would be taken pertaining to the FIR including the filing of the chargesheet after which the bench issued notice to the respondents and posted further hearing after two weeks.
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