A Mumbai court on Tuesday allowed actor Kangana Ranaut‘s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day in a criminal defamation complaint filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar, and said it will issue a warrant against her if she fails to appear on the next date of hearing on September 20. As the matter came up for hearing, Ranaut"s lawyer sought that she be exempted from appearance for the day as she was not keeping well.
The lawyer submitted a medical certificate before the court and said the actor has been traveling for the promotion of her film and has “developed COVID-19 symptoms". However, Akhtar’s lawyer said this is an orchestrated tactic to delay the case proceedings. The lyricist’s lawyer further said Ranaut has refused to appear before the court for one reason or the other since summons were issued to her in February this year.
After hearing the submissions, metropolitan magistrate R R Khan allowed Ranaut to be exempted from appearance for the day. He then posted the matter for hearing on September 20.
The magistrate said if the actor fails to appear on the next hearing, a warrant will be issued against her.
The court directed Kangana to appear before it on the next date of hearing, on September 20. Last week, Kangana’s request to cancel the defamation case was rejected by the Bombay High Court. Kangana, through her counsel Rizwan Siddiquee, had challenged the defamation proceedings that were initiated by the Magistrate’s court earlier this year, saying that the court had failed to apply its mind to the case.
Javed Akhtar’s counsel Jay Bharadwaj, however, told the high court that the magistrate had directed for the police inquiry after going through the lyricist’s complaint and excerpts of Ranaut’s interview, in which she had made the alleged defamatory comments. Akhtar had filed the criminal complaint against Ranaut in November last year before the Andheri metropolitan magistrate for allegedly making defamatory and baseless comments against him in a television interview given to a senior journalist.