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Kangana’s office demolition justified, says BMC as HC adjourns matter till Sept 22

The civic body said Ranaut had made “false, baseless, unwarranted allegations”, including those of “harassment” and “malafide”, and she should not be permitted to seek protection for such “unlawful work” by approaching the HC.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: September 11, 2020 10:33:21 am
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The BMC on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that actor Kangana Ranaut had been carrying out “substantial alterations” in her Bandra property “contrary to the sanctioned plan” and its action of demolition of these structures was justified and without any “malafide”.

The court went on to adjourn the matter for further hearing on September 22 after Ranaut’s counsel Rizwan Siddique sought time to respond to the BMC affidavit. The court’s order restraining BMC from undertaking further demolition work at the property will continue till then.

The HC had on Wednesday stayed the demolition of alleged unauthorised structures at Ranaut’s Pali Hill office, hours after the BMC had started the exercise. The court had said the BMC’s action “prima facie does not appear to be bonafide and smacks of malafide” and directed the civic body to file an affidavit in response to Ranaut’s plea seeking interim relief of stay on the demolition work.

In its reply, the civic body on Thursday said that the actor had made “false, baseless, unwarranted allegations”, including those of “harassment” and “malafide”, and she should not be permitted to seek protection for such “unlawful work” by approaching the HC.

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for the BMC, submitted a short affidavit to a division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla, stating that the action was justified as the work carried out in the premises was clearly in contravention of the sanctioned plan. It added that even in the plea filed by Ranaut, the actor has not disputed that she carried out unlawful alterations and additions to the property.

The BMC also refuted the actor’s claims that no work was in progress at the said property, saying that photographs taken in the premises on Tuesday showed presence of workmen with implements and materials. It submitted that the petitioner has made false and incorrect statements and has not approached the court with “clean hands” and therefore, no relief should be granted to her.

Further, the BMC said that the “stop work” notice it had issued to Ranaut was done with due “application of mind” and the actor was given the opportunity to produce any permission or authorisation for the construction work as per law.

The BMC had issued a stop work notice to Ranaut on Tuesday over the renovation and finishing work at Manikarnika Films Production House office at Pali Hill in Bandra West. In her plea seeking interim relief, Ranaut had called the notice illegal, and said the civic body had hurried with the demolition process for ulterior reasons.

The BMC affidavit justified the action of demolition on the ground that the alterations and additions in the premises were not as per the sanctioned building plan and therefore were illegal. It maintained that the action was taken as per its 2012 policy circular, according to which, “…such construction should be removed forthwith on expiry of notice period of 24 hours”. In view of this, the BMC sought dismissal of the actor’s petition.

As Ranaut’s counsel sought time to respond to the affidavit and to amend her petition, the court noted that the “petition was filed in haste” and allowed the actor to make amendments to it by next Monday. Further, it directed BMC to respond to the amended plea by September 18 and posted further hearing on the actor’s plea to September 22.

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