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HC refuses to hear Javed Akhtar plea alleging Kangana Ranaut ‘misled court’ to get passport renewed

A bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar said if the court allows one such intervention, they will be flooded with similar pleas.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 26, 2021 6:17:26 pm
Akhtar had filed a complaint against Ranaut last year alleging that she had made defamatory statements against her during a media interview.

The Bombay High Court Monday refused to hear an intervention application filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar, alleging that actor Kangana Ranaut’s counsel had made a misleading statement in court to obtain an assurance from the Regional Passport Authority on her passport renewal, despite pending criminal cases against her.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, representing Akhtar, submitted that the statement made by Ranaut of no pending criminal cases was false and misleading. “A fraud has been played on the court for passport renewal,” Grover argued.

Akhtar’s contention is that the response by Ranaut’s counsel on no pending cases was limited to the criminal proceedings arising out of two FIRs against her for sedition and for copyright violation, while not taking into account the criminal defamation case against her filed by the lyricist.

However, a bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar refused to intervene, maintaining that if the court allows one such intervention, they will be flooded with similar pleas.

“We will not hear you. Today, you do not have the right to an audience. If we allow this application, then what about hundreds of other people? The court will be overflooded with hundreds of such pleas. We have our limitations. We are not entertaining an intervention application by someone who is not a complainant (in FIRs in question),” the court said.

On June 28, a special division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere had disposed of Ranaut’s interim applications seeking renewal of her passport, after the Passport Authority’s counsel gave an assurance that it would decide on her application expeditiously.

Ranaut had pleaded that she had to travel abroad for her movie’s shooting, but her passport renewal had been held up. In the course of this hearing, her counsel had assured the court no criminal case was pending against her, despite her being named in the two FIRs.

On July 1, Akhtar filed an intervention application in Ranaut’s plea through advocate Jay Bharadwaj. Akhtar said that Ranaut should have brought “a factual position” before the court when she had complete knowledge of the pending criminal defamation complaint filed by him against her.

The court on Monday, however, suggested that Akhtar approach the complainant in the Bandra sedition case or the public prosecutor’s office to raise his grievances.

“We cannot allow interim applications by the third party. If anyone has misinformed the court, we will ask the public prosecutor or advocate for the complainant/informant. Anyone who has grievances can come through them. We cannot function like this.”

Meanwhile, the division bench referred to Bombay High Court Appellate Side Rules and directed Ranaut to approach a single-judge bench with her appeal challenging criminal defamation proceedings initiated by the magistrate court on Akhtar’s complaint. Ranaut has sought that the complaint be quashed and set aside.

Akhtar had filed a complaint against Ranaut last year stating that she had made defamatory statements on national and international television “in what appears to be a clear campaign to malign and tarnish” his reputation.

The lyricist had referred to an interview given by Ranaut in July 2020 after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

On a request made by advocate Rizwan Merchant, representing complainant Munawwar Ali Sayyed, the division bench posted a hearing on Ranaut’s plea seeking quashing of sedition FIR along with intervention applications on August 11.

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