Monday 24 October 2016

Force-Feeding Row: HC Reserves Judgement

New Delhi

The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a PIL seeking a direction to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to disqualify 11 Shiv Sena MPs for allegedly force-feeding a Ramzan-observing employee of IRCTC at the new Maharashtra Sadan here.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath reserved the order after the counsel for both the parties concluded their submissions.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the PIL "does not stand anywhere" as the victim has so far not approached the police for registration of an FIR.

Seeking dismissal of the PIL, the ASG referred to the prayers made in the PIL seeking de-recognition of Shiv Sena and a direction to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to disqualify 11 MPs of the party.

"The High Court cannot pass these two directions," he said adding that so far as other submissions are concerned, the central government had already taken a "strong view" of the issue. Moreover, the Home Ministry had already made a statement on the floor of the House, he added.

"The government is totally sensitised with the issue. The Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) himself has made a speech in parliament that the government will not tolerate these kind of incidents," the ASG said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Garib Nawaz Foundation through lawyer N K Jha, seeking immediate arrest of the MPs for "provoking religious sentiments against the minority community".

"The action of the Shiv Sena MPs with the fasting Muslim supervisor was uncalled for and needed to be dealt with strict action by party chief Udhav Thackeray," the PIL said.

The plea seeks de-recognition of Shiv Sena and initiation of criminal case against the MPs including Sanjay Rout and Rajan Vichare who represents Thane Lok Sabha seat.

The plea also alleged Vichare, irked over the poor quality of food, force-fed Arshad Zubair, Maharashtra Sadan catering supervisor, on July 17 before television cameras.

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