The Bombay High Court Tuesday asked actor Kangana Ranaut to make Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and a designated officer from BMC H-West ward parties to the case challenging the demolition of her office.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla noted that since the actor submitted a DVD of statements made by Raut, he should get the opportunity to be heard, and the BMC officer too should respond to allegations.
Reacting, Raut, Sena chief spokesperson, said the case wouldn’t deter him from “fighting for the pride of my city and my Maharashtra”.
Case by an actrss in Hon.High Court is abt demolitn of illegl structre by BMC whch is an indpndnt body & Demnd is 2 mk RS MP SanjayRaut a party! Frm Babri case 2 standng fr Marathi pride,I hv facd severl cases! Ths wldn’t deter me frm fghtng fr d pride of my city & myMaharashtra
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) September 22, 2020
Parts of Ranaut’s Bandra office were razed on September 9, before the court stayed the demolition till further orders.
Ranaut, through advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, on Monday submitted a rejoinder to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) additional affidavit, saying the civic body had abused the ‘process of law’ by initiating demolition work at her office when she was given mere 24 hours to respond to its notice, and her response was rejected in a hurried manner.
The court also sought to know from the BMC if any action was taken on an adjacent bungalow occupied by fashion designer Manish Malhotra, after giving him seven days to respond to the notice. Ranaut in her rejoinder had cited this as ‘bias’ by the BMC.
Referring to the DVD of Raut’s statement which Ranaut had submitted to the Court, Justice Kathawalla sought to know whether she wanted to make Raut a party to the plea. “You do not want to show the ‘Ukhaad diya’ caption (as reported on September 10 in Sena mouthpiece Saamana)? You will have to implead Raut,” Justice Kathawalla told the actor.
Senior Counsel Birendra Saraf, appearing for Ranaut, sought time and was reluctant to make Raut a party to the case, saying he would instead argue on the aspect of ‘malice in law’ by BMC. However, after the bench insisted that Raut should be given the opportunity to be heard, Saraf accepted it.
The Court also directed the actor to make Bhagyavant Late, a designated officer of BMC H-West ward, who had filed the affidavit on behalf of BMC, as party to the case.
Ranaut denied the civic body’s allegation that she carried out ‘substantial unlawful additions and alterations’ contrary to sanctioned plans at her Bandra office.
In view of this, the BMC, through senior counsel Aspi Chinoy and advocate Joel Carlos, sought time to respond to the new ‘categorical denial’ pertaining to illegal alterations by the actor, claiming it required response as per records.
Saraf and Siddiquee opposed the BMC’s request, saying the actor had maintained from the beginning there were no illegal alterations in the premises.
They further submitted that the BMC officers involved in the demolition had provided them with additional photographs of alleged illegal alterations on Tuesday, done “belatedly as to deviate and delay the case”.
The Court also sought to know from the BMC as to how its 2012 policy circular was applicable in the demolition at the actor’s office. The circular prescribes demolition on expiry of notice period of 24 hours in case of any danger to life of the occupier or other persons. In light of this, the Court sought to know whose life was in danger, which prompting the civic body to carry out partial demolition on September 9, after serving notice to Ranaut on September 8.
The bench, while posting further hearing for making Raut and Late parties to the case on Wednesday, directed the civic body to file its response to Ranaut’s rejoinder by Thursday and said that it will hear the case in detail on Friday.
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