Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray on Monday suffered a setback with the Supreme Court clearing the way for his prosecution by the Jharkhand police for allegedly inflammatory speeches targeted at people from Bihar, Jharkhand and north India.
The apex court dismissed his petition challenging the criminal cases registered against him in Jharkhand.
A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma rejected Thackeray's plea that his speeches were not inflammatory and also refused to entertain his plea that the Jharkhand authorities had no jurisdiction to register a case against him.
The Jharkhand police had registered a case under Section 504 IPC (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) against the MNS leader for the allegedly inflammatory speeches. "Charges can be framed even on mere suspicion," the bench observed, when senior counsel Rohinton Nariman, appearing for Thackeray tried to argue that there were no basis for the police to book him.
The bench also observed that there was nothing improper in the police registering cases when there were allegations that he had incited mobs by making inflammatory speeches. Earlier, Nariman submitted that the Jharkhand Government had registered the criminal case against Raj on a complaint lodged by a local RJD leader and which was based on certain TV channels' reports in May this year.
It was further argued that since the alleged speeches were made in Mumbai, the Jamshedhpur police had no jurisdiction to prosecute him. But the arguments did not find any favour with the bench which dismissed his petition, thus, giving the green signal for the prosecution of the estranged nephew of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.