A Mumbai Magistrate Court today, 27 July has asked Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut to appear before it in the next hearing of the defamation case filed against her by veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The court has given a 'last chance' to the actor to appear on the next date, failing which a bailable warrant will be issued against her.
"The exemption application filed by the advocate of the accused is granted for today as the last chance. The advocate for the accused is directed to keep the accused present on the next date without fail," the court said.
Ranaut had sought exemption from appearing in court as she is not in the country due to her work commitments.
However, Akhtar's lawyer Jai Bharadwaj opposed her plea and asked the court to issue a warrant against her as she has not appeared in the court on any date till now, according to Bar and Bench.
After hearing both sides, Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate RR Khan permitted exemption for the day due to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, he warned Ranaut to be present in the court next time if she doesn't want any warrant issued against herself. For now, the matter has been adjourned till 1 September.
"On the plea seeking issuance of a warrant against the actor, the magistrate said, 'The application filed by the advocate of the complainant for issuance of warrant against the accused is rejected. The advocate for the complainant is informed that on the failure of the accused to remain present before the court on the next date, they may file an application for a warrant against her," said the court.
Akhtar had moved Magistrate court claiming that Ranaut's statements during her interview to a news channel amounted to criminal defamation offence under the Indian Penal Code sections 499 and 500.
The interview was aired when the CBI probe was going on in Sushant Singh Rajput's death case last year. According to Akhtar's complaint, Ranaut had stated that he was part of a "Bollywood suicide gang" who could "get away with anything".
In February this year, Metropolitan Magistrate at Andheri summoned Ranaut and issued process under section 204 of the CrPC. Recently, the actor approached the Bombay High Court against the Magistrate's inquiry order and requested quashing of all the proceedings, states Live Law.
(With inputs from Press Trust of India)