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Judge acted judiciously, without bias: says court while rejecting Kangana's plea in defamation case

Mumbai: The additional chief metropolitan magistrate court here has held that the Andheri metropolitan magistrate, which is presiding over the defamation case filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar against Kangana Ranaut, has acted "judiciously" and did not show any bias against the actor.

Just because the court proceeds with the case by following the procedure of law, it does not mean that it is biased against the applicant, additional chief metropolitan magistrate S T Dande said in her order in which she rejected Ranaut's plea that sought transfer of the case to some other court.

The additional chief metropolitan magistrate had rejected Ranaut's petition on October 21, but its detailed order was made available on Saturday.

The actor had filed the transfer petition last month, saying that she had "lost faith" in the Andheri metropolitan magistrate's court as it indirectly threatened her of issuing a warrant if she failed to appear before it in a bailable offence. The petition also alleged that the court was biased against her.

However, Dande, in her order, ruled that the metropolitan magistrate, 10th court, Andheri, has given a fair opportunity to the accused to remain absent by granting all her exemption applications.

"I have perused all the orders passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Andheri. He has passed the orders judiciously," she said.

Moreover, the order passed by the Andheri court was confirmed by the sessions court. Further, the high court had dismissed Ranaut's plea seeking quashing of the criminal defamation proceedings initiated against her by the magistrate, the court said.

"It shows that Metropolitan Magistrate, Andheri, has acted judiciously and is not biased against the applicant," the CMM court said.

"Merely because the court proceeds with the case by following the procedure of law, it does not mean that court is biased against the applicant/accused," it added.

It further held that the case cannot be transferred from one court to another on the basis of mere "apprehension".

The court said it was of the view that Ranaut has failed to make out a positive, concrete case to show that her apprehension is reasonable.

"Unless some positive, concrete case is made out showing that there is reasonable apprehension of not getting a 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," it said.

"If on the basis of false allegation, the matter is transferred, it will affect the morale of the presiding officer," it added.

The court ruled that there are no grounds made out for transfer of the case from the metropolitan magistrate's court, Andheri, to any other court.

Akhtar (76) had filed the complaint in the Andheri court in November last year, claiming that Ranaut had made defamatory statements against him in a television interview, which allegedly damaged his reputation.

In his complaint, Akhtar claimed that Ms. Ranaut dragged his name during an interview while referring to a 'coterie' existing in Bollywood, following the alleged suicide by actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June last year.

Ranaut has also moved a counter complaint in the Andheri court against Akhtar for alleged "extortion and criminal intimidation" before the metropolitan magistrate court. PTI

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