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PIL takes exception to gifting of sword to PM at poll rally

The Bombay High Court has granted time till July 8 to the Centre, Ahmednagar district collector and the police to file their replies to a public interest litigation which takes exception to gifting of unsheathed sword to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Maharashtra assembly election campaign last year.

The order was passed by the Aurangabad bench of the High Court on June 17 while hearing the PIL filed by Ahmednagar-based activists Sanjay Kale and Sandip Kulkarni.

As the government pleader sought more time, the court said it was the last opportunity it was giving. “More than six weeks have already lapsed. However, in the interest of justice, the matter to stand over to July 8 as the last chance. Even counsel for the union shall file its stand,” Justices S V Gangapurwala and V K Jadhav said.

The PIL seeks an inquiry against police inspectors of Rahuri and Kopargaon in Ahmednagar district.

According to the petition, at a campaign rally in Rahuri, Modi was presented with an unsheathed sword.

“The model code of conduct was operational from September 15 to October 21….Gifting/presenting of open swords, which is an arm, is in violation of the code of conduct and also the Bombay Police Act and Arms and Ammunitions Act,” the PIL says.

Also, at a rally in Kopargaon, swords were gifted to Aditya Thackeray of Shiv Sena and Snehalata Kolhe of BJP, it says.

“Gifting of open swords, apart from being violative of the law, also raises serious concerns about the security of the Prime Minister and other leaders,” the petition claims.

It wants the Centre, the state government and the Election Commission to initiate an inquiry against senior police inspectors of Rahuri and Kopargaon for alleged negligence and a court directive to end the custom of gifting swords to political leaders at rallies.

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