The 10th Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Mumbai, on Tuesday, rejected actor Kangana Ranaut’s plea seeking permanent exemption from appearing in the criminal defamation case filed by veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar against her.
The defamation case traces back to November 2020 when Akhtar had filed a complaint against Ranaut, alleging that she had made defamatory remarks about him during an interview with Republic TV, after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput on July 14, 2020. In the interview which aired on July 19, 2020, Ranaut had said that some of the senior members of the Hindi film industry, including Akhtar, were part of a “gang” that was against “outsiders.”
The court has till date granted the actor 13 exemptions, as per Akhtar’s submissions.
Ranaut has also received several warnings of arrest from the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court for failing to make an appearance.
On December 13 last year, Akhtar had moved the court seeking a non-bailable warrant against the actor, for not appearing before the court in the case, alleging that she was making ‘deliberate attempts’ to delay the proceedings.
Less than a month later, in January, Ranaut was granted another exemption from appearance by the Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Ranaut’s counsel stated that the actor was preoccupied with her professional commitments which makes it difficult for her to appear for the hearings as she has to travel to different domestic and international locations.
Further, Ranaut’s counsel stated that Akhtar is in the habit of recklessly making such applications, despite full knowledge that “it is not Ranaut who has been delaying the proceedings of this court in any manner whatsoever, but has instead specifically requested to proceed in the matter through her advocate.” The actor’s representative also pointed that more than a year has gone by and the court has not decided on her application for the permanent exemption.
Akhtar’s counsel, meanwhile, argued that there were days when the actor had sought exemption on the grounds of ill-health whereas her Instagram stories or posts had showed this excuse to be false. He further said that her presence is necessary before the court in order to frame charges and record the plea.
After hearing the arguments, the court rejected Ranaut’s petition for permanent exemption, but assured her that specific requests for the same would still be considered.