Kangana Ranaut's petition against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for demolishing portions of her bungalow will be heard by the Bombay High Court from Friday afternoon, the court ruled on Thursday. The actor had sued the municipal corporation and its officials, claiming Rs 2 crore in compensation for the demolition that she alleged was an outcome of malice, and not implementation of the civic body's rules.
Shiv Sena lawmaker and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut and the BMC's Bhagyawant Late, the civic body's designated officer for H-West ward, who were made parties in the case on the court's directions have been told to file their response by the time their turn comes at the hearings. Ranaut's lawyer has also been told to make corrections in the petition.
Sanjay Raut and Bhagyawant Late had requested the court for more time. The bench contrasted the request for more time to the hurry with which they had gone ahead to demolish parts of the actor's building in Mumbai's plush Bandra area. She had purchased the building for Rs 200 crore in 2017. It houses the office of Manikarnika Films Private Limited.
"We cannot leave the demolished house the way it is. You need more time here but otherwise you are fast," the court comprising justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla observed.
A demolition team of the Shiv Sena-controlled BMC had demolished parts of an office owned by Kangana Ranaut on September 9 that they contended had been built in violation of the rules. Ranaut had rushed to the high court to seek relief but by the time the court completed its hearing and stayed the demolition, the damage had been done.
The court had then noted that the manner in which the BMC had rushed to demolish parts of the building within 24 hours of the notice did not "appear to be bonafide (in good faith) and smacks of malafide (dishonest intentions)".
The demolition also escalated a war of words between Ranaut and the Sena-led Maharashtra government leaders.
In her petition, Kangana Ranaut has asked the judges to rule on her claim for Rs 2 crore as compensation. She said the BMC had damaged nearly 40% of her bungalow and other movable assets.
She has also underscored that the BMC had failed to prove its allegations as it had not attached any photographs, which should have been taken when the designated officer inspected Ranaut's property on September 7. She said that this pointed to high-handed action by BMC.
The actor has said that the BMC demolished her building as soon as the 24-hour deadline expired but gave designer Manish Malhotra, who was issued a notice on the same day, seven days to respond.
The confrontation between Kangana Ranaut and the Maharashtra government is seen to be linked to her criticism of the Mumbai police and the state's handling of investigations into actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death in June. The controversy took a larger political tone after the Congress accused her of carrying forward the Bharatiya Janata Party political agenda.