08, Jan 1995
Fourteen cases in all have been filed against Bal Thackeray’s mouthpieces, the Marathi daily, Saamna and the Hindi eveninger, Dopahar ka Saamna by the police for articles published over four years–between 1990-94.
In view of reported claims in court, by the police and the Maharashtra government, in the course of hearing this petition, that sufficient or adequate action had already been initiated against the offending newspapers, it is pertinent to look at the stage at which investigations/prosecutions in these cases have reached:
- Courts: Four of the 14 cases filed by the police for articles appearing in Saamna between January 10 to 21, 1993 (not the editorials cited in the petition), under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, are languishing in courts. The last date for hearing was December 15, 1994 after which the cases have again been adjourned.
- Government: Five of the 14 cases filed by the police against Dopahar ka Saamna between January 22, 1993 and June 8, 1993 still await government sanction for prosecution nearly two years after the offences were allegedly committed. It is pertinent to mention that the police first sent these cases for sanction only on April 25, 1994, sixteen months after the offences were allegedly committed and 13 months after the present writ petition was filed.
- Police: In five of the 14 cases, related to offences committed by Dopahar ka Saamna (three) and Saamna (two), between the period of February 7, 1993 to April 19, 1994, investigations are still pending with the Dadar police station and the C.I.D., Crime Branch.
P.S. In a previous case related to an article published by Saamna on September 16, 1990, where the police had applied for government sanction to prosecute the Saamna and its editor, Bal Thackeray, the Maharashtra government refused sanction.