by Omkar Gokhale
Actor Kangana Ranaut has amended her petition before the Bombay High Court and sought Rs 2 crore as damages for the illegal demolish of her Bandra office by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC.
The amended plea stated that BMC has demolished 40 per cent of the office, which included valuable property such as chandeliers and rare artworks, and also sought interim relief to take steps to make property “capable of use” after the demolition.
An amended plea said that though her reply to BMC’s notice was rejected at 10 35 am on September 9, BMC and police officials were “already present outside the bungalow well before the time of final order of BMC, which can be proved by Ranaut’s tweet at 10.19 am on Wednesday”.
The petition stated: “The photograph clearly shows that the BMC officials along with police officers and with all the equipment as they were already ready to demolish the said Bungalow which shows that the BMC always had malafide intentions and ulterior motives to demolish the said Bungalow… actions by respondents were premeditated and vitiated by malice.”
The plea claimed that actor’s advocate Rizwan Siddiquee went to the premise on September 9 to serve the ward officer with a copy of the petition and conveyed that the matter was scheduled to be heard at 12 30 pm, however, the BMC official locked the bungalow from inside and ignored the advocate and continued the demolition work.
“The large-scale illegal demolition has caused damage estimated to be around Rs. 2 crore,” the plea said and sought directions from the court to compensate the actor with the same.
The plea further said that while the civic body in its notice had listed 14 illegal alteration works ongoing in the premises, there was only one photograph of a person trying to prevent leakage from the incessant rains and no other evidence was produced and, therefore, the said notice was ‘illegal’ and ‘wrongful’, the plea said.
The BMC on September 10 had told the High Court that Ranaut “contrary to sanctioned plan” and its action of demolition of these structures was justified and without any “malafide”.
In its reply, the civic body said the actor had made “false, baseless, unwarranted allegations”, including those of “harassment” and “malafide”, and she should not be permitted to seek protection for such “unlawful work” by approaching the court.
It added that even in the plea filed by Ranaut, the actor has not disputed that she carried out unlawful alterations and additions to the property.
On September 10, as Ranaut’s counsel sought time to respond to the affidavit and to amend her petition, the court noted that the “petition was filed in haste” and allowed the actor to make amendments to it by September 14. Further, it had directed BMC to respond to the amended plea by September 18 and posted further hearing on the actor’s plea to September 22.
The court’s order restraining BMC from undertaking further demolition work at the property will continue till then.
A Division Bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla had on September 9 stayed the demolition of alleged unauthorised structures at Ranaut’s Pali Hill office, hours after the BMC had started the exercise. The court had said the BMC’s action “prima facie does not appear to be bonafide and smacks of malafide” and directed the civic body to file an affidavit in response to Ranaut’s plea seeking interim relief of stay on the demolition work.
The BMC had issued a stop work notice to Ranaut on September 8 over the renovation and finishing work at Manikarnika Films Production House office at Pali Hill in Bandra West. The High Court will hear the amended plea and BMC’s response to the same on September 22. ( Indian Express )