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Bombay HC restrains MNS from impeding shopowners

August 28, 2008 19:53 IST
Last Updated: August 29, 2008 12:54 IST

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Observing that nobody can "hold the people to ransom", the Bombay High Court on Thursday restrained Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray and his party members from indulging in violence or making provocative speeches over Marathi signboards issue.

In response to an application filed by traders' associations, the court restrained Raj and MNS members from "in any manner whatsoever disturbing" the traders in the city from carrying on their business activity, defacing or damaging their business property and assaulting or threatening them.

Justices J N Patel and K K Tated also restrained Raj personally from giving any provocative or intimidating public speech regarding the issue of putting up signboards in Marathi in commercial establishments and shops.

The federation of retail traders welfare associations, along with others, approached the High Court after the MNS chief warned shopowners to put Marathi signboards by August 28.

 The court also ordered police commissioners of Mumbai and Thane to take effective steps to safeguard the petitioners and to protect them from violence by MNS workers. Earlier, the court grilled the government lawyer as to what preventive measures it took after Raj sent a letter to traders, threatening to teach them lesson if they failed to put up Marathi signboards.

"There is a hidden threat in this letter," Justice Patel said, asking what action was taken against Raj and whether "this gentleman has been interrogated." "Nobody can hold the people to ransom," Patel said.

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