The Bombay High Court has sought response from Ahmednagar District Collector and police on a PIL against presenting of unsheathed swords to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders during Maharashtra election campaigning last year.
A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and AIS Cheema of the Aurangabad bench of the High Court was hearing a PIL filed by two social workers from Ahmednagar district – Sanjay Kale and Sandip Kulkarni – seeking inquiry against the police of Rahuri and Kopargaon in Ahmednagar for alleged negligence of duty.
According to the petition, a few days before the state Legislative Assembly elections on October 15 last year, during campaigning in Rahuri, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was allegedly presented an open sword on the dais.
“The model code of conduct was operative in the state from September 15 to October 21 on account of the assembly elections. Gifting/ presenting of open swords, which is an arm, is in violation to the code of conduct and also the Bombay Police Act and Arms and Ammunitions Act,” the petition states.
It added that a similar incident occurred in Kopargaon where swords were gifted to Aditya Thackeray of Shiv Sena and Snehalata Kolhe of BJP.
“Rahuri and Kopargaon are politically sensitive and volatile talukas in Ahmednagar district. Gifting of open swords, apart from being violative of the law, also raises serious concerns to the security of the Prime Minister and other leaders,” the petition claims.
The petitioners have sought that the court direct the Union and state government and the Election Commission of India to initiate inquiry against the senior police inspectors of Rahuri and Kopargaon for negligence.
The court has asked the Superintendent of Police along with the Collector to reply in the matter.
The PIL also sought an end to the practice of gifting unsheathed swords to political leaders in such campaigns.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on June 15.