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FB arrest case: Palghar magistrate transferred, 2 senior policemen suspended

Last updated on: November 27, 2012 15:44 IST

A week after two girls were arrested -- for a Facebook post questioning the shutdown over Bal Thackeray's funeral -- the Bombay high court has transferred the magistrate who had sent them to judicial custody and later granted them bail.

The transfer orders were issued on Monday by the registrar of the high court, following which it was communicated to the home department, the chief judicial magistrate and Judicial Magistrate First Class R G Bagade.
The order said, "Judicial Magistrate First Class at Palghar R G Bagade is hereby transferred in the same position to Jalgaon with immediate effect."

The Maharashtra government also suspended two police officers, including a superintendent of police, following the row over the arrest of two girls from Palghar in neighbouring Thane district.

Superintendent of Police (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and Senior Police Inspector Shrikant Pingle have been suspended in the case, state's Home Minister R R Patil told reporters.

He said action has been taken after obtaining legal advice on the matter.

"There was no need to charge the girls under wrong sections," Patil said, adding that there was no need to take such hasty action against the girls.

The girls -- Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan -- were arrested last Monday after Dadha posted a Facebook status lamenting Mumbai's shutdown for Thackeray's funeral on November 18 and Renu 'liked' it.

Though Dhada didn't name Thackeray, a local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparing an outrage.

On November 20, police arrested the vandals who had damaged Shaheen's uncle's hospital on November 18, despite her removing the post and apologising that day itself.

They were arrested under Indian Penal Code sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings o any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505(2) IPC (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and the IT ACT.

Later, the girls were produced before the magistrate, who sent them to judicial custody and later granted them bail on Rs 15,000 each.

The incident had sparked off a debate in legal circles, with some lawyers opining that instead of being granted bail, the girls should have been discharged from the case as they were booked under wrong charges.

Also, the Maharashtra government had instituted an inquiry, headed by Inspector General (Konkan Range) Sukhvindar Singh, who has submitted a report on the arrests to the director general of police's office.

The report has indicted policemen involved in initiating action against the girls and observed that the arrests could have been avoided, following which the Maharashtra government promised to act against the erring cops.

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