The Bombay High Court on Monday clubbed all the FIRs lodged against Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale and student Nikhil Bhamre, accused of uploading defamatory posts against NCP president Sharad Pawar, at the police station where the first case was lodged against them.
There are 22 FIRs registered against Ms Chitale and six against Mr Bhamre, a resident of Nashik.
With the High Court order, all the FIRs against Ms Chitale have now been clubbed with the first FIR lodged against her at Kalwa police station in neighbouring Thane district.
All FIRs against Mr Bhamre would now be clubbed at Naupada police station in Thane.
A division bench of Justices NM Jamdar and NR Borkar took note of a Supreme Court order which said when there are multiple FIRs, then the first case lodged can be considered as the main FIR and the remaining cases can be considered as witness statements in the first FIR.
The bench also directed the Maharashtra government and all complainants in the case to file their affidavits, replying to other prayers made in the petitions filed by Ms Chitale and Mr Bhamre seeking compensation for wrongful arrest and for their arrest to be declared as illegal.
“What is the state government’s stand on these prayers made in the petition? Both the government and the complainants shall file their affidavits,” the court said while posting the matter for further hearing on September 6.
Ms Chitale and Mr Bhamre was arrested in May this year and released on bail in June.
Ms Chitale had been arrested sharing on Facebook a Marathi verse, which allegedly referred to NCP chief Sharad Pawar in a derogatory way.
Mr Bhamre was arrested for an alleged objectionable tweet against Mr Pawar.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)