Big relief for Kangana Ranaut as Bombay High Court sets aside BMC's demolition order
Kangana Ranaut's house demolition case hearing took place on Friday, November 27. The actress got a big relief as Bombay High Court quashed the September 9 order issued by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to demolish Ranaut's bungalow in Bandra.
The division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla concluded that Kangana could make the bungalow habitable. For the demolished portion, the actress has to take planning permission from the BMC. She can also seek regularization for the non-demolished parts.
"The BMC order actuated by legal malice. There is material in pleadings that smacks of malafide and was done to cause substantial losses. We would be perfectly justified to order compensation against respondents," the court observed.
The actress' counsel Senior Advocate Dr.Birendra Saraf had previously argued that the petitioner is at loggerheads with the Maharashtra Government and received life threats. Saraf also said that Sanjay Raut commented that Kangana needed to be taught a lesson. "On the same day when Raut made remarks, an officer (a mukadam) from the BMC visited and entered the property without prior notice. The timing of the visit assumes relevance. As per the mukadam's report, he just saw the gate (of the demolished property) open and just walked in. Thereafter, on September 7, officials from MCGM visited the property around noon. They took some measurements and made handwritten notes. They also roughed up the security guards and others working at the bungalow and even threatened them," he argued.
The bench declared, "We do not accept allegations made by the petitioner (Ranaut) in view of the alleged atmosphere in the state or film industry. The petitioner is suggested to maintain restraint on public platforms. Irresponsible statements made by the citizen are best ignored."
"We make it clear that this court does not countenance unauthorised construction… we do not approve any statements made by the petitioner," it said.
The court added, "Whatever be her statements, no action can lie except within four corners of law. Manner in which action was carried out leaves hardly any doubt that it was against the law and was ‘sinister’. BMC has done it with disregard to the rights of the citizen."
Sharing the news on her Twitter handle, Ranaut said, "When individual stands against the government and wins, it’s not the victory of the individual but it’s the victory of the democracy. Thank you everyone who gave me courage and thanks to those who laughed at my broken dreams. Its only cause you play a villain so I can be a HERO."
MCGM's counsel Sr Advocate Aspi Chinoy had previously argued everything that was demolished was unauthorized. He submitted a phone with pictures from the demolition site. "Photographs are always taken as a matter of practice," he told the Court when questioned if the workers were demolishing the site and also taking photographs.
Saraf, thereafter, referred to the BMC circular and said:
1. There should be an entry in the detection register on the same day when an unauthorized construction is detected.
2. They have to get photographs of the site.
3. Panchnama to be prepared of the materials, machinery etc.
"There is non-compliance of the circular. There is no sketch, no photographs, no entry in the detection register", he submitted.
Justice Kathawalla had asked Sr Advocate Chinoy to present more substantial proofs.
"We want to know if the demolition has taken place in those cases with the same swiftness?", Justice Kathawalla had questioned.
Reportedly, Kangana was seeking Rs. 2 crore compensation for the losses.