The Bombay High Court recently ruled on actor Kangana Ranaut’s plea for a stay on the criminal defamation case filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar in 2020. The court also addressed her request to club this case with her cross-complaint against Akhtar.
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Order by Justice Prakash Naik
Justice Prakash Naik, presiding over the case, dismissed Ranaut’s plea, emphasizing that the proceedings couldn’t be stayed or clubbed. The key reasoning was that Ranaut had never asserted that both cases were cross-cases, and Akhtar’s complaint was filed first. The order stated, “At this stage the relief sought in the petition cannot be granted. Earlier it was never contended by the petitioner (Kangana) that both cases are cross cases.”
Ongoing Defamation Case
While the defamation case Akhtar filed against Ranaut is progressing before the Magistrate in Andheri, Ranaut’s complaint against Akhtar has been stayed by the Sessions Court.
Genesis of Both Cases
In her writ petition, Ranaut claimed that both cases originated from a 2016 meeting, arguing that they should be tried together. However, Akhtar opposed Ranaut’s plea, labeling it an attempt to further delay the defamation case. He highlighted Ranaut’s multiple legal challenges, all of which were dismissed, leading her to file a counter-complaint with false allegations.
Background of the Cases
Javed Akhtar filed a complaint on November 3, 2020, alleging defamation by Ranaut, linking his name to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Ranaut is currently facing trial under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code.
Counter-Complaint by Ranaut
In 2021, Ranaut retaliated by filing a counter-complaint against Akhtar, citing criminal intimidation and insult to modesty based on a 2016 incident. The Mumbai court took cognizance of Ranaut’s complaint, but Akhtar challenged the order in the Sessions Court, resulting in a stay until the disposal of his revision petition.
Kangana Ranaut’s Argument
Ranaut, through her advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, argued that both cross-complaints stem from the same 2016 incident and should be tried simultaneously to prevent prejudice. She sought an urgent stay on Akhtar’s defamation proceedings to facilitate joint hearings.
Akhtar’s lawyer, Advocate Jay Bharadwaj, contended that the petition lacked basis for invoking the court’s writ jurisdiction. He emphasized that as per Supreme Court guidelines, Akhtar’s case, filed before Ranaut’s cross-complaint, must proceed first. He further argued that Ranaut’s entire case relied on assumptions and probabilities, which couldn’t justify invoking writ jurisdiction for a stay on lower court proceedings.