Mumbai: Kangana Ranaut has approached the Bombay High Court, challenging the criminal defamation proceedings brought by a Magistrate Court on the complaint of lyricist Javed Akhtar. Ranaut is seeking to throw out the entire proceeding initiated by the Magistrate based on Akhtar’s complaint.
The complaint Akhtar filed last year alleged Ranaut made defamatory statements on national and international tv, ‘in what appears to be a clear attempt to malign and tarnish the reputation of the complainant in the general public’s eyes’.
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Having been served with a process by the Magistrate Court in Andheri in February this year and a bailable warrant in March this year, Ranaut appeared before the magistrate and applied for bail, which was granted.
In April, the Dindoshi Sessions court dismissed Ranaut’s appeal against the Magistrate court order. Ranaut’s plea in HC questioned the entire proceeding begun by the magistrate, including all the orders and summons issued till date, and said the magistrate, instead of simply directing Juhu Police to conduct a hearing, was first duty-bound to examine Akhtar and the witnesses named in the complaint on oath, as per Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the plea, the magistrate ‘blatantly’ used police tools to ‘illegally’ collect witnesses’ statements through the use of a police investigation, which is completely ‘unheard of,’ the court said.
As per the petition, ‘the magistrate failed to appreciate the duty he had to protect the rights and interests of the proposed accused, during the inquiry as well as at the time of taking cognizance of the complaint.’
The practice of such a nature, if allowed, will set a wrong precedent for other magistrates and also harm the rights and liberties of the accused, Ranaut argued in her plea through her lawyer, Rizwan Siddiquee. The HC was requested to declare as illegal the signed witness statement collected by the police on the direction of the Magistrate. The HC is likely to hear the case on July 26.