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Palghar Facebook case: What action would be taken on erring cops, asks HC

The Bombay High Court today sought to know from the Maharashtra government if it was going to prosecute the police officers responsible for the illegal arrest of two girls from Palghar for posting comments on Facebook against the bandh-like situation in Mumbai after Bal Thackeray's death in November 2012.

Palghar Facebook case: What action would be taken on erring cops, asks HC
Rinu Shrinivasan and Shaheen Dhada were arrested over a Facebook post questioning the bandh-like situation in Mumbai after Bal Thackeray's death

A division bench of Justices PV Hardas and AR Joshi directed the government to file an affidavit within three weeks stating if it proposes to initiate action against the police officers in accordance with law.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar seeking appropriate action to be taken against the erring cops. Tirodkar sought action against the police officers under section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 345 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of the IPC.

"Tell us in an affidavit what action you are going to take? Action has to be in accordance with law," Justice Hardas said. The government in an affidavit filed earlier said that senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle who arrested the two girls has been suspended and is facing departmental inquiry.

Superintendent of Police, Thane (rural), Ravindra Shengaonkar, has also been suspended for failing to stop the arrest, the affidavit had said.

Tirodkar has requested the court to hand over the probe to CID which should look into mobile phone communications and wireless records to ascertain who ordered the arrest.

The two teenage girls were arrested following a complaint made by the local Shiv Sena head. While one of the girls had posted against the bandh observed in the city, the second girl had 'liked' the post. 

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