On Wednesday, Bombay High Court reserved its order on a plea, seeking quashing of criminal defamation proceedings initiated by the metropolitan magistrate’s court, filed by actress Kangana Ranaut. The complaining was filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar. Following the courts judgment, Ranaut’s counsel Rizwan Siddique has earlier challenged the proceedings saying Andheri’s suburban magistrate court had failed to apply its mind to the case.
Ranaut’s plea stated that the lower court did not independently examine the complainant or witnesses rather relied upon the discretion of Juhu Police to initiate the case against her. Siddique, on Wednesday mentioned in Justice Revati Mohite-Dere’s single bench that the inquiry into Akhtar’s complaint was ‘one-sided’ adding that their witnesses were never examined and magistrate should have ensured that no party is harassed. However Akhtar’s counsel Jay Bharadwaj told the HC that it wasn’t the case as it being mentioned by Siddique. He said that the police had summoned witnesses and concerned persons including Ranaut, to ensure its inquiry was impartial, but the actor never responded to the summons.
A criminal complaint against Ranaut in November last year was filed before the Andheri metropolitan magistrate by Javed Akhtar for making defamatory and baseless comments against him in an interview. The court directed the Juhu police to conduct an inquiry into Akhtar’s complaint in December 2020. The police subsequently confirmed the incident and that an offence of defamation was carried out, with further inquiry into the same being required. The court accordingly, initiated criminal proceedings against Ranaut and issued summons to her in February this year.
The order on Ranaut’s plea is likely to be passed on September 9.
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