The Bombay High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against Raj Thackeray, leader of MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) party in 2008 stone pelting case.

Thackeray had filed a criminal writ petition before the Aurangabad Bench against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge by which the order of the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) was confirmed.

A Single Bench of Justice Nitin B. Suryawanshi said, “In absence of any material on record to show instigation on the part of petitioner in the present crime, charge against petitioner is groundless and Trial Court as well as Sessions Court have failed to appreciate this vital aspect and have erred in rejecting prayer of petitioner for discharge.”

Senior Advocate Rajendra Shirodkar appeared on behalf of the petitioner while APP S.R. Wakle appeared on behalf of the respondent.

Factual Background -

Thackeray was an accused in a case which was registered pursuant to charge sheet filed for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 341, 336, 337, 427, and 109 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to the Public Property Act and Section 135 of Bombay Police Act and Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendment Act. As per the prosecution case, in 2008, the informant namely Ashok Nirgudkar was plying S.T. bus on the route from Karmala to Tuljapur. It was alleged that at about 8.45 am, there were about 50-55 passengers in the bus and when the bus reached at T junction of Sonari Karmala, accused persons i.e., Jalal Shaikh, Bapu Kshirsagar, Murtaza Sayyed, Azhar Shaikh, and Sudeep More suddenly came before the bus and shouted that they are party workers of MNS.

They shouted slogans and then pelted stones on the bus, due to which front window of bus was damaged, causing loss of Rs. 5,000/-. Thereafter, co-accused damaged three more S.T. buses on the said spot. On completion of investigation, charge sheet was filed. Thackeray (petitioner) filed an application for discharge under Section 239 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The Magistrate dismissed the said application and Thackeray challenged the said order by filing Criminal Revision Application and both the orders were challenged in the petition before the High Court.

The High Court in the above regard observed that the impugned orders are unsustainable in law and facts of the case.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the criminal proceedings.

Cause Title- Swararaj @ Raj Shrikant Thackeray v. The State of Maharashtra (Neutral Citation: 2024:BHC-AUG:8183)


Petitioner: Senior Advocate Rajendra Shirodkar, Advocates Sayaji Nangre, and Arun Shejawal.

Respondent: APP S.R. Wakle

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