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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Kangana Ranaut case: You are an MP, should have shown grace, Bombay HC tells Sanjay Raut

In his affidavit, Raut claimed he did not threaten Ranaut, but ‘only referred to the petitioner as dishonest because she made a statement that Mumbai was like ‘PoK’.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: September 29, 2020 9:01:18 pm
kangana ranaut, sanjay raut, kangana ranaut bmc, kangana ranaut shiv sena, mumbai city newsThe HC had asked Ranaut to produce all her tweets and the entire video interview of Raut, where he allegedly used the abusive word. (File)

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday, while maintaining it did not agree with actor Kangana Ranaut’s tweets about the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police, said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut should have shown ‘grace’ and restraint while responding to her.

The observations were made by a division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla after the court examined Raut’s affidavit, wherein he admitted that an ‘expletive’ he used in an interview to a TV channel was directed at Ranaut.

The bench was hearing Ranaut’s petition against the demolition of alleged unauthorised alterations at Bandra office by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, representing Bhagyavant Late, designated officer of BMC from H-West ward, said Ranaut had made vague allegations and did not have a case on merits. He said that since she was unable to prove the case on facts or laws, she alleged malafide and tried to divert the court’s attention.

Responding to allegations made by the actor against Late, Sakhare said that Late’s subordinates had visited the Pali Hill Bungalow around 1 pm on September 5, much before her tweet, which was made around 5 pm. Hence, the allegation that the BMC was prompted by her tweet was not valid, Sakhare said.

When the court on Monday had asked Ranaut to substantiate her claims of being abused by Raut, her advocate, Birendra Saraf, played a clip of an interview of Raut to a TV channel, where he was heard saying “woh xxxx ladki”. Saraf said the expletive referred to Ranaut. Raut’s lawyer had Monday said he did not mention Kangana Ranaut’s name when he used an expletive to describe a “girl”.

In his affidavit submitted Tuesday, the Shiv Sena leader said the petitioner did not approach the court with clean hands, and hence was not entitled to any relief and her petition should be dismissed.

Raut’s affidavit stated, “I deny that I have threatened the petitioner on September 5 news video in a derogatory and abusive manner as alleged. I say that in the said interview I have only referred to the petitioner as ‘dishonest’ because the petitioner had made a statement saying Mumbai is like ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK)’. I say that I had responded because the petitioner had insulted Mumbai and Maharashtra

When the Court referred to his ‘Kanoon Kya hai? (What is law)’ comment in the said interview, Raut’s counsel said it was out of ‘provocation’ and was made after the petitioner (Kangana) said Maharashtra is not safe.

As advocate Pradeep Thorat, Raut’s lawyer, could not appear due to personal difficulties, his junior advocate submitted that the contention against the MP was limited. “He is not concerned with this demolition matter. He should have been more responsible, but he had no intention to disrespect the law. There was no threatening message,” the counsel said.

To this submission, Justice Kathawalla said, “You are a leader, a parliamentarian. You should have been cautious while making statements. Even we don’t agree with what the petitioner (Ranaut) has said. Is this the way to address it?”

The judge added, “We are all Maharashtrians and we are all proud to be Maharashtrians. But that doesn’t mean we go and break her house. You have to show grace. You have to ignore such things. Is this an example you set for others by asking ‘Kanoon kya hai’ (what is law)?”

Thereafter, senior advocate Birendra Saraf along with advocate Rizwan Siddiquee for Ranaut responded that the case was maintainable irrespective of BMC’s submissions against it that the actor had a remedy in filing suit for claims instead.

Seeking written submissions from all parties in the case, the court posted further hearing next week.

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