The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim relief to Aam Aadmi Party’s Maharashtra president Preeti Sharma Menon and another party worker, while staying investigation against them for four weeks in an FIR registered under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The order was passed by the Division Bench of Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Milind Sathaye on a petition by Menon and AAP worker Manu Pillai, seeking to quash the FIR, which was against them on March 16, 2023 by the Andheri Police.
Calling the FIR as being completely ‘false’ and baseless, the petitioners claimed that they have been roped in as they belonged to a ‘prominent’ opposition party. They further alleged that the complainant was removed from the party for anti-party activities.
Complaint Sanjay Kamble, who joined AAP last year, alleged that Menon and 25-30 other people present at the party office on March 10 resorted to sloganeering and manhandled him after he vocalised his concerns. Menon allegedly called him a man of ‘low mentality,’ while Pillai ran towards him to hit him.
The AAP leader and party worker were booked under Sections 143 (unlawful assembly),147 (rioting), 500 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult) and 506 (threat) of the IPC along with Sections 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the SC/ST Act.
Alleging that the complaint was filed after influence by rival political parties, the AAP leader said the membership of Kamble and a few other party members was terminated after they were found to be involved in anti-party activities.
She further contended in her plea that despite all the offences being punishable with less than seven years imprisonment, a notice under Section 41A of the CrPC was not given.
Senior Advocate Mihir Desai, along with Advocate Vijay Hiremath, argued that there was a six day delay in filing the FIR.
They further claimed that the FIR was vague and did not specify the casteist slurs being used.