A Mumbai court issued a bailable warrant against actress Kangana Ranaut on Monday after she failed to appear for the hearing of lyricist Javed Akhtar’s defamation case against her. Akhtar’s advocate Vrinda Grover then filed an immediate response asking the court to issue a non-bailable warrant against the actress.
Talking to IANS over a whatsapp text, Vrinda Grover said: “In defiance of the court’s order of 1st February, Ms. Ranaut did not appear before the court today. On the basis of Javed Akhtar’s verification statement, material evidence, including the Republic TV program where Ms. Ranaut made defamatory remarks, and the police report inquiry examining the witnesses, the Ld. Magistrate has summoned Ms. Ranaut as an accused. It is a matter of record that there is no application filed by Ms. Ranaut against this Order and no stay of proceedings in her favour. Thus, the court in accordance with law issued bailable warrants against Ms. Ranaut on my submissions. The defamation complaint filed by Mr. Javed Akhtar shall now proceed to the next stage in law.”
Akhtar had filed a defamation case against Ranaut after she accused him on a national news channel of being part of a “coterie” in Bollywood. She made the comment after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput last year.
The Andheri metropolitan magistrate had issued a bailable warrant on February 1, asking Kangana to appear on March 1.
When contacted, the actress’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui said, “I have already challenged. I appeared in the court today before the judge. I have told the judge very categorically that the process of law is not being followed. Section 200 compliance is not being done. The judge knows that I will be quashing the entire proceedings. I will either apply for revision or quashing. Most probably I will be going for quashing. Therefore the judge has given the date of March 26.”
Explaining what Section 200 means and why the proceeding from Javed Akhtar’s side are incomplete, Siddiqui said: “Section 200 is when you file a private complaint, saying ‘I am Javed Akhtar and this has what has happened to me and I have got four witnesses and I name these witnesses in the complaint. So, my verification oath has to be done as well as for all witnesses’. In this case only Javed Akhtar’s verification oath was done, whereas no verification oath was done for other witnesses. So, this is a mandatory provision. I am challenging the whole thing.”
Will the actress be appearing in court on March 26?
“I really don’t think so, but can’t say. We will see while building the case up, exactly what the requirements are. But 99.9 per cent she won’t be making an appearance,” said Rizwan.