Justice delayed is justice denied. But, in Maharashtra, it has been observed that Justice doesn’t really exist. From the Palgarh incident to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the whole nation is still waiting for justice in multiple such cases.
This is Uddhav’s Maharashtra for you. However, Maharashtra is witnessing a high-voltage drama as Shiv Sena’s Minister Eknath Shinde is leading the revolt against his own party which gives us clear hint that BJP may topple the government in the state.
Moreover, there’s good news coming from the state too. Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale has finally been granted bail after 34 days in jail and Maharashtra, hopefully, is witnessing a reformation which is for the good.
22 FIRs and 34 days in Jail
In the last few years, we have seen how those taking stand for ‘Freedom of Speech’ get furious when it is practised against them.
This is what exactly happened on 14 May this year when Ketaki Chitale was arrested for sharing an allegedly offensive Facebook post about Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. Mind you, not one, not two, not three instead Chitale spent 34 days in jail.
The post shared by Chitale was purportedly written by an advocate called Nitin Bhave and was in the form of a poem. A total of 22 FIRs and four non-cognisable offences have been registered against Chitale in the state.
In order to launch an attack on Chitale, the Navi Mumbai police went on to resurrect a 2020 case filed against the Marathi actor under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, for another social media post. She was then formally arrested and a charge sheet was filed against her as well.
Though a Thane district court granted bail to Chitale in the 2020 case last Thursday, she couldn’t walk out of jail yet as it was necessary for her to be granted bail in the Sharad Pawar case too.
The actor has to approach the Bombay High Court to prevent custody in the future. She is asking for her arrest and detention to be declared “illegal”.
Chitale granted bail
Chitale, however, was granted bail on Wednesday by the Thane sessions court. Notably, she is likely to be released on Thursday. The FIRs were filed against Chitale in other parts of the state too, including in Pune and Pimpri.
Chitale was booked under charges of sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), and 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
Chitale had informed the court that “the police had not complied with laid down procedures while arresting her.” Her lawyers Ghanshyam Upadhyay and Yogesh Deshpande also said that “the Bombay High Court had on Tuesday granted interim bail to Nashik resident Nikhil Bhamre, who was also arrested for allegedly posting a defamatory statement.”
Former Maharashtra director general of police D Sivanandan, while interacting with ThePrint told that “The person who wrote the post…got away freely because you don’t know where he is. I am not saying that this lady has posted this innocently. It is venomous, and sharing it on her social media page was also unfair. But it is not a criminal act that deserves incarceration for over 30 days.”
While people may think that it is the time for celebration as Chitale has been granted bail, they should however not forget that the actress had to spend 34 days in Jail for a post that did not even refer to Sharad Pawar. In a country where Islamists, rioters, murderers, rapists, and sometimes even terrorists do not get enough punishments and are granted bail in two days, a woman was jailed for four weeks only for exercising her freedom of speech.
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