Force-feeding: HC dismisses PIL seeking disqualification of Shiv Sena MPs

The Delhi High Court, Friday, dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking de-recognition of the Shiv Sena and direction for disqualification of 11 of its MPs for allegedly forcing a Muslim staffer to eat at the Maharashtra Sadan during his Ramadan fast last month.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, Friday, dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking de-recognition of the Shiv Sena and direction for disqualification of 11 of its MPs for allegedly forcing a Muslim staffer to eat at the Maharashtra Sadan during his Ramadan fast last month.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath rejected the petition, saying the petitioner Maulana Ansar Raza has not provided sufficient evidence to show that it is a public interest litigation (PIL).

The court also observed that the police is already investigating the matter and the Ministry of Home Affairs has also expressed its concern over the issue.
"Neither of the aggrieved parties has approached the police for registration of an FIR regarding the alleged incident," the court noted.

The PIL filed by NGO Garib Nawaz Foundation had also sought immediate arrest of MPs for provoking religious sentiments against the minority community, besides having sought initiation of criminal case against the MPs including Sanjay Rout and Rajan Vichare.

The PIL alleged that on July 17, Vichare, irked over the poor quality of food, force-fed Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) employee Arshad Zubair, who was Maharashtra Sadan catering supervisor, before some television cameras. The IRCTC was providing food for Maharashtra Sadan.

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

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