In its detailed order rejecting actor Kangana Ranaut’s plea seeking to transfer defamation proceedings against her before another judge, the additional chief metropolitan magistrate has said that merely because the judge is following legal procedure, it cannot be said that he is biased against her.
The court also said that Ranaut’s allegations are vague, without any reasonable apprehensions and if the case is transferred, it would affect the morale of the presiding officer.
“Merely because the court proceeds with the case by following the procedure of law, it does not mean that the court is biased against the applicant (Ranaut). Unless some positive, concrete case is made out showing that there is reasonable apprehension of not getting fair trial or fair justice from the concerned court, the proceedings cannot be transferred from one court to another on mere vague and general allegations,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S T Dande said in her order.
The magistrate court had on Thursday rejected Ranaut’s plea seeking to transfer the proceedings she is facing at the Andheri metropolitan magistrate court on a complaint filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar alleging defamation.
Ranaut, through her lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui, has alleged that the judge is “intentionally causing prejudice”, insisting that she remain present in court on each date.
Akhtar’s lawyer Jay Bharadwaj had opposed the plea stating that the transfer application was to delay the proceedings. He also said that she had remained “willfully absent” though summons were issued for her to appear in March and her exemption pleas were allowed multiple times.
The magistrate court, rejecting her plea, said that the judge had acted judiciously and given her fair opportunity.
“Record shows that learned metropolitan magistrate… never rejected any exemption application filed by the applicant/accused (Ranaut). However, he has rejected several applications of complainant (Akhtar) filed for issuance of non-bailable warrant against accused/applicant. It shows that the learned metropolitan magistrate has given fair opportunity to the accused to remain absent by granting all exemption applications. He has not acted against her and neither had any bias towards her,” the magistrate’s court has said.
The court added that Ranaut had failed to show any reasonable apprehensions to transfer the case. “If on the basis of false allegation matter is transferred, it will affect the morale of the presiding officer. No grounds made for transfer,” it said.
The Andheri court had issued summons to Ranaut to remain present in March for recording her plea after observing that sufficient grounds were made out to proceed against her. Akhtar had filed a complaint 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.
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