The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut to be added a party to the proceedings in Kangana Ranaut's petition challenging demolition of her property in Bandra as the actor had relied upon a video of Raut allegedly abusing her while alleging malice in the action taken against her by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla also allowed Bhagyawant Late Designated Officer, H West Ward to be added as a party in the case.
At the outset, MCGM's counsel Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy referred to the rejoinder filed by the 33-year-old actor and submitted that a fresh statement will have to be filed in response to the same as new material facts have been pointed out.
He addressed Ranaut's fresh allegation that six workmen that were allegedly present at the site, why have their pictures not been annexed and said that the presence of the workmen or any work had been denied by the petitioner and now after our affidavit this averment is made.
Appearing for the State, AGP Jyoti Chavan submitted that the State was arraigned as a party through the Home Department and they have nothing to do with the case. The urban development department has been given papers only yesterday so we need time, AGP Chavan argued.
Senior Advocate Dr.Birendra Saraf said that the Corporation is trying not to file a detection report.
At this juncture, Justice Kathawalla enquired from Aspi Chinoy regarding the other notices under Section 354 A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 and said-
"We need to know what happened in these cases, whether the demolition has taken place."
Saraf intervened stating- "I will argue that there is malice in law while effectuating this demolition. I have sent a DVD wherein Sanjay Raut has made certain statements"
To this, Justice Kathawalla replied,
"If you are going to rely on the DVD and argue malice, should you not implead him as a party?"
Saraf sought time to take instructions. In the meantime, referring to a circular by the MCGM on unauthorized construction, Justice Kathawalla told both the parties to address the Court on the issue of Section 354A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act.
Dr.Saraf joined back and submitted-
"Assuming that Section 354A is applicable, Supreme Court says give the opportunity to respond not to demolish or take action for at least 7 days."
Court told Dr.Saraf that if the petitioner is alleging malice and relying upon the DVD then Raut has to be added as a party.
After some back and forth, Dr.Saraf agreed to implead Sanjay Raut and contended,
"I am alleging malice in fact, so I have to give the officer who passed this order and Sanjay Raut both the opportunity to come and answer in their personal capacity."
Finally, Court observed-
"The Petitioner has in support of her case that the action taken by MCGM to demolish her bungalow was with malafide and malicious intent, relied on a video clip recording the interview dated 5th September, 2020 of Shri Sanjay Rajaram Raut, Chief Spokesperson of the Shiv Sena party, wherein Shri Raut has allegedly abused the Petitioner. She has also relied on a report pertaining to the demolition of her bungalow which report is captioned 'उखाड़ दिया' and is published in the newspaper 'Saamana' on 10th September, 2020, of which Shri Raut is the Executive Editor.o enable Shri Raut to deal with the allegations made against him, the Petitioner is allowed to join Shri Raut as party Respondent No. 3 to the above Writ Petition."
Moreover, along with Sanjay Raut, Court also allowed Bhagyavant Late to be added as a party in the case in order to enable him to defend in his personal capacity, the petitioner's allegation that he has with malafide and malicious intent issued notice/order of demolition and has proceeded to demolish the bungalow of the Petitioner."
The matter will be heard tomorrow at 11:30 am.
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