‘Judge followed legal procedure, no bias involved’: Metropolitan magistrate’s court while rejecting Kangana Ranaut’s plea

Kangana Ranaut has sought a transfer of defamation proceedings against saying that the judge is “intentionally causing prejudice” by insisting that she remain present in court on each date.

The additional chief metropolitan magistrate, while rejecting Kangana Ranaut’s plea seeking to transfer the defamation proceedings against her before another judge, said that merely because a judge is following legal procedure does not mean that he is biased against her.

The court also said that Ranaut’s allegations are vague, without any reasonable apprehensions and if the case is transferred, it would affect the morale of the presiding officer.

“Merely because the court proceeds with the case by following the procedure of law, it does not mean that the court is biased against the applicant (Ranaut). Unless some positive, concrete case is made out showing that there is reasonable apprehension of not getting fair trial or fair justice from the concerned court, the proceedings cannot be transferred from one court to another on mere vague and general allegations,” additional chief metropolitan magistrate S T Dande said in her order.

The complaint against Ranaut has been filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar alleging defamation. Ranaut, through her lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui, alleged that the judge is “intentionally causing prejudice” by insisting that she remain present in court on each date. Akhtar’s lawyer Jay Bharadwaj had opposed the plea stating that the transfer application was to delay the proceedings.

He also submitted that she had remained “willfully absent” even though summons were issued to her to appear in March and her exemption pleas were allowed multiple times.

The magistrate court, while rejecting her plea, said that the judge had acted judiciously and given her fair opportunity, allowing her exemption applications many times.

“Record shows that Learned Metropolitan Magistrate…never rejected any exemption application filed by the applicant/accused (Ranaut). However, he has rejected several applications of complainant (Akhtar) filed for issuance of non-bailable warrant against accused/applicant. It shows that the Learned Metropolitan Magistrate has given fair opportunity to the accused to remain absent by granting all exemption applications. He has not acted against her and neither had any bias towards her,” the magistrate’s court said.

The court also said that Ranaut had failed to show any reasonable apprehensions to transfer the case. “If on the basis of false allegation matter is transferred it will affect the morale of the presiding officer. No grounds made for transfer,” the magistrate court said.

Akhtar had filed a complaint last year stating that she had made defamatory statements on national and international television “in what appears to be a clear campaign to malign and tarnish” his reputation.

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