MUMBAI: “We are all Maharashtrians and proud to be Maharashtrians but are we supposed to react like this? We have to show grace,” said a Bombay high court bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla on Tuesday after Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, in his reply to actor Kangana Ranaut‘s petition, said he merely called her “dishonest” when she likened Mumbai to “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”. Raut said he never threatened or abused the actor “in a derogatory manner as alleged” and that she “has not approached the court with clean hands”.
Raut said he responded to her statement during an interview since she had “insulted Mumbai and Maharashtra”.
“Even we do not agree with what the petitioner has said. We have to show grace and have to ignore such things. Can you say ‘kanoon kya hain’ (what is law)?” said Justice Kathawalla. He was referring to a clip of Raut’s interview by a media channel played in court on Monday. The video-conference hearing of her plea was against the BMC’s September 11 ‘illegal demolition” of works in her Bandra bungalow.
Raut’s lawyer Aditi Naikare said, “He should have been more responsible when making statements. But he had no intention of disrespecting the law.”
Justice Kathawalla, who perused Raut’s affidavit, said, “You are a leader and not an ordinary person. You have to set an example for others. A leader is not aware ‘kanoon kya hai’? Does he have to ask?” He added, “Does it befit him as a leader?”
Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, said Ranaut’s petition be dismissed and no relief sought against him be granted. He said he has “no concern with” the BMC’s demolition under the civic law.
On Monday, HC had asked Raut’s counsel Pradeep Thorat to reply if he had abused Ranaut with a nine-letter word ‘h…….r’ in the interview. HC had made Raut a party to Ranaut’s petition after she alleged malice by the Sena-led BMC. HC had also added H-West Ward’s designated officer Bhagyawant Late, who passed the demolition order, and sought his reply to her allegations of mala fide, malice and haste.
On Tuesday, Late denied all allegations and said he was performing his “official duty” in carrying out demolition after a valid 24-hour notice for “ongoing unlawful renovation”. Senior counsel Anil Sakhare for Late said the actor has no case on merits and cited four judgments to back his submission that “when a person has no case on facts or law, s/he resorts to allegations of malice which have a very high burden of proof and has been held by courts to be a loser’s argument”.
Justice Kathawalla said to Sakhare, “My simple question to you is what was this mukadam or the designated officer doing when the entire work came up?” The HC reserved her petition for judgment.



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