Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut has approached the Bombay High Court seeking the quashing of proceedings initiated by a city magistrate on a criminal defamation complaint filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar. In an appeal filed through advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, Ranaut claimed that the Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court initiated proceedings against her by relying only on the police’s report and did not examine witnesses independently.
Akhtar filed a criminal complaint against Ranaut in November 2020 before the magistrate for allegedly making defamatory and baseless comments against him in television interviews. The Bollywood lyricist said that she has falsely claimed there are no criminal cases against her.
In December, the court directed the suburban Juhu police to conduct an inquiry. After the police stated in its report that an offence was made out on the face of it and further probe was needed, the court initiated criminal proceedings against Ranaut and issued a summons to her in February 2021. However, Ranaut did not appear in court and a bailable warrant was issued in March. Ranaut then appeared before the Magistrate to get the warrant cancelled.
“The metropolitan magistrate did not use his own powers to conduct an inquiry but instead blatantly used the police machinery to collect the signed witness statements…which is completely unheard of,” the actor’s plea said.
It was likely that the witnesses were influenced by the police and the magistrate should have recorded evidence of witnesses under oath to “establish if an actual case was made out”, it said.
The high court is likely to hear Ranaut’s plea next week.