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Do you act with similar swiftness in other cases, Bombay High Court questions BMC

11:51 PM Sep 25, 2020 | Akshata

The Bombay High Court, on Friday, asked the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to spell out if it acts in similar swiftness in other cases just like the way it initiated the demolition action against the bungalow of actress Kangana Ranaut. Meanwhile, the actress told the HC that the action by BMC was because of her ‘ideological’ differences with the party in power.

A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla commenced hearing the final arguments in the petition filed by Ranaut, challenging the demolition of her bungalow.

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Appearing for Ranaut, senior counsel Birendra Saraf told the judges that his client was targeted because she has been at loggerheads with the ruling party.

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"My client is a public-spirited citizen and she voices her opinions on public affairs. She recently made certain statements on the functioning of the Mumbai Police and this displeased the party in power," Saraf told the judges.

"She has been at loggerheads with the government owing to the ideological differences with the Shiv Sena. Thus, she was targeted, threatened and was compelled to seek security from the union government," Saraf added.

The senior counsel further pointed out that Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut had threatened her and made derogatory comments against her. "In an interview to a news channel, Raut went on to the extent of saying that he would teach my client a lesson," Saraf said.

Further, referring to the written note and the inspection report of the H-West ward (Bandra) officer, Saraf highlighted numerous discrepancies regarding the findings of the civic authorities pertaining to the illegalities in her bungalow.

"While in the note it is said that the constructions have been carried out, the inspection report states that illegal work was being carried out. We will examine whether the alleged illegal work was being carried out at the relevant time or if it was already constructed," Justice Kathawalla said.

"We can see (from photos) that, on the ground floor, there was no ongoing work except that the position of the main entry gate has been changed. Thus, we want to know if there was no ongoing illegal work, then how did the BMC demolish the ground floor," Justice Kathawalla said.

While perusing the note of the ward officer who ordered demolition, Justice Kathawalla asked senior counsel Aspi Chinoy of the BMC to explain how the officer concluded that there were numerous illegalities in the bungalow and were necessary to demolish.

"Apart from all this, we want to know if you (BMC) act with similar swiftness in other such cases. The BMC will have to specifically respond to this query," Justice Kathawalla said while posting the matter for further hearing till Monday.

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