Lyricist Javed Akhtar has told the Bombay High Court that actor Kangana Ranaut’s petition seeking stay on defamation proceedings against her is only a delay tactic.
Ranaut had filed a petition last week seeking a stay on Akhtar's criminal defamation complaint filed in 2020 and further prayed for the case to be heard along with the cross-complaint she subsequently filed against him.
While the defamation case Akhtar filed against Ranaut is ongoing before the Magistrate in Andheri, Kangana's complaint against Akhtar was stayed by the Sessions Court.
In her petition, Ranaut stated that both cases had their genesis in a meeting (between Ranaut and Akhtar) in 2016 therefore they should be tried together.
Seeking dismissal of the petition, Akhtar has said that Ranaut has not challenged any order passed by the magistrate’s court and has without any basis now sought a stay on the proceedings.
The affidavit, filed through advocate Jay Bhardwaj, said this was nothing but an attempt to delay the proceedings on his defamation complaint. “Ranaut is not challenging any judicial order passed by the lower court but has based the entire writ petition on assumptions and presumptions coupled with an unwarranted optimism of the proceedings pending in courts below,” the affidavit read
During the hearing on Tuesday before a division bench headed by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, the judge was of the opinion that the petition ought to be heard by a single judge bench.
The bench has directed the high court registry to verify the same and place the petition before the appropriate bench for hearing.
The lyricist had filed a complaint alleging defamation against Ranaut and claimed that it damaged his “immaculate reputation” by dragging his name into actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death in her interview with a news channel in July 2020.
Ranaut, in July 2021, filed a counter-complaint against Akhtar before a magistrate’s court, alleging criminal intimidation and insult to modesty. Ranaut had claimed that during her meeting with the lyricist in 2016 at his residence, Akhtar had criminally intimidated her demanding she apologise to a co-star.
On a plea by Akhtar, the sessions judge stayed the criminal proceedings against him.
Hence, Ranaut approached HC seeking a stay on criminal proceedings arising from Akhtar's complaint as well.