Rapper Rajesh Mungase, who faced charges of defamation and inciting public mischief, obtained interim protection from arrest till April 25. Mungase’s video had raised issues about the injustice meted out to the common people and did not target any person specifically, his lawyers argued.
Days after the case against Mungase was registered, another rapper, Umesh Khade, was charged with obscenity by the Mumbai Crime Branch. As a report in ‘The Wire’ put it, Khade’s rap, entitled ‘Bhongli Keli Janata’, focuses on how the poor and marginalised are left to fend for themselves even as the political parties are busy striking lucrative deals.
Yesterday, Additional Sessions Judge R.G. Waghmare of Kalyan Sessions Court, Maharashtra heard Mungase’s plea for anticipatory bail and granted him interim protection from arrest till April 25. Mungase’s lawyer Shubham Kahite told Free Speech Collective that he had to move quickly to secure protection from arrest though there was no substance in the case against Mungase.
Mungase’s video of his rap song “Chor, 50 khoke Ekdum Ok”, was aired on his channel Bhimraj Productions on Mar 25, 2023 and has garnered more than 35,000 views till date.
Mungase, a resident of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar, faced charges under 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 504 (intentional insult with intention to provoke) and 505(2) (statements conducting public mischief with intent to incite) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, based on a complaint by Snehal Kamble, who was formerly with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena but switched sides later.
In an ironic twist, the complainant against rapper Rajesh Mungase , charged with spreading inciting public mischief by using words like ’50 Khokha” and “chor” in his rap song “Chor” alluding to the buyout of MLAs that resulted in the formation of the BJP-Eknath Shinde Sena government, had tweeted the exact same words in October 2022!
Mungase’s lawyer Shubham Kahite pointed out that Kamble had posted a tweet alluding to the very same ’50 khokha’ that she has taken objection to:
In his anticipatory bail application, Kahite argued that Mungase’s video “was raising pertinent social issues” and the FIR intended to stifle the voice of those who speak against the Government. The complainant was a core committee member of Yuvasena (Shinde Faction) and was in no way connected to the persons against whom such offences were alleged to have been committed.
The application also said that “it is pertinent to note that the Complainant on 28/10/2022 posted on her Twitter account against the present Government and stating that the present Government is a corrupt government and that is least bothered about the welfare of the youth and its problems. It goes beyond one’s imagination that the said Complainant had defamed the present government publicly, however, no action has been taken against her despite her statements which constitutes an offence under IPC.”
Kahite also pointed out that the subject of rap song does not relate to any of the categories mentioned in section 505(2) of Indian Penal Code. It is submitted that ingredients of Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code are that the Publication of Video to create or promote on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever and feelings of enmity hatred or ill-will.
Meanwhile, Khade is yet to get relief from the case lodged against him. His rap song, uploaded on his Youtube channel Shambho, on Mar 11, 2023, has got more than one lakh views till date.