Kangana Ranaut, the Hindi actor, has been granted one last chance to appear before the Magistrate Court in Mumbai in lyricist Javed Akhtar’s criminal defamation case against her, Bar and Bench reported.

The court said on Tuesday that a bailable warrant will be issued against Ranaut if she fails to appear for the next hearing.

While Ranaut’s lawyer submitted that she could not appear in person on Tuesday as she is out of the country and sought an exemption from personal appearance, Akhtar’s lawyer opposed the application and asked for the issuance of a bailable warrant as the actor has not appeared in the case at all so far.

In November 2020, 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 by suicide.

In the interview aired on July 19, 2020, Ranaut said that some of the senior members of the Hindi film industry, including Akhtar, were part of a “gang” that was against “outsiders” in the industry.

Recently, Ranaut moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the criminal defamation case after Akhtar intervened in her ongoing passport renewal case.

In June, Ranaut had moved the Bombay High Court seeking directions for the renewal of her passport after the Passport Authority of India allegedly raised objections due to the FIRs registered against her by the Bandra police for hateful tweets and sedition. During the hearing of this case, the actor had assured the court that no criminal case was pending against her.

At this point, Akhtar intervened and filed a petition in court accusing Ranaut not disclosing the pending criminal defamation case in order to obtain a favourable order in the passport renewal case.

The Bombay High Court, on Monday, refused to hear Akhtar’s intervention in Ranaut’s plea.

Meanwhile, author Ashish Kaul has also filed an application in the Bombay High Court accusing Ranaut of “lying under oath” by not disclosing Akhtar’s defamation case during her ongoing passport renewal case. Seeking a probe by the passport authorities against Ranaut for “false representation” and action under the Contempt of Court Act, Kaul has demanded the surrender of Ranaut’s passport or for it to be impounded by the police.

The author filed this application in response to Ranuat’s plea to quash the FIR filed against her in the Manikarnika sequel copyright infringement case. This FIR was filed by the Mumbai Police in March, against Ranaut and others, based on Kaul’s accusation of copyright infringement regarding Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’s upcoming sequel, The Legend of Didda.