Shibu Thomas, 24 Feb, 2007 TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MUMBAI: In a blow to the ruling Democratic Front government, the HC on Friday dismissed its appeal against the discharge of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in a case relating to publication of inflammatory articles during the 1992-1993 Mumbai riots.
Justice J H Bhatia upheld the metropolitan court’s order closing the case against Thackeray on account of the delay in filing the charge sheet.
The second phase of the post-Babri Masjid demolition riots had engulfed the city between January 6-19, 1993. The case relates to the publication of articles in the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, between January 14-23, 1993.
In 1994, the Dadar police registered two criminal cases against Thackeray, the paper’s executive editor Sanjay Raut and publisher Subhash Desai under section 153 A (I) (a) of the IPC.
The crime was "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, (and) race", a non-bailable offence that is punishable by up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine.
Despite the police applying with the government for sanction in 1994, the actual permission was accorded only in 2000 after the DF government came to power.
On July 25, 2000, the Dadar police arrested Thackeray and produced him before additional chief metropolitan magistrate B P Kamble.
The judge threw out the case saying it was time barred. He further added that there was no explanation for the seven-year delay in filing the charge sheet.