"She has been travelling a lot to promote her film and has been meeting a lot of people. So she has probably contracted Covid due to that. She has to undergo a test. I am seeking a short date," Siddiqui told the court.
Granting exemption from appearance to actor Kangana Ranaut in the defamation proceedings filed by poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar, a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Tuesday said that it will issue an arrest warrant against her if she remains absent during the next hearing.
Ranaut’s lawyer, Rizwan Siddiqui, told the court that the actor was showing ‘Covid-like symptoms’ and has not been well. He submitted a medical certificate from a doctor. “She has been travelling a lot to promote her film and has been meeting a lot of people. So she has probably contracted Covid due to that. She has to undergo a test. I am seeking a short date,” Siddiqui told the court.
Lawyer Jay Bhanushali, representing Akhtar, who was present before the court along with wife Shabana Azmi, opposed Ranaut’s plea stating that she has been prolonging the case. Bhanushali submitted that while Akhtar had ‘diligently’ attended almost all hearings, Ranaut had missed eight hearings since the court had issued process against her in February.
Bhanushali also submitted that Ranaut had not been granted any relief from appearance by higher courts.
Siddiqui said that the court had not functioned for three-four of those hearings and said that it was a ‘genuine’ case where she could not appear because of her health on Tuesday. Siddiqui told the court that he was seeking a short date and submitted that Ranaut will remain present for the next hearing unless her Covid-19 test result is positive. In such an instance, he said, he will inform the court with another plea. The court scheduled the next hearing for September 20.
The court said that it was keeping Bhanushali’s application seeking a warrant to be issued against Ranaut pending. “If she fails to appear, I will issue an arrest warrant,” the court said.
Akhtar had last year filed a complaint alleging that Ranaut made defamatory statements on national and international television, “in what appears to be a clear campaign to malign and tarnish (Akhtar) in the eyes of the general public”.
Source: Read Full Article