Seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against her, Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut on Monday told Bombay High Court that none of her tweets ever incited violence or led to criminal acts.
An FIR was registered against Ranaut and her sister Rangoli in October last year on the directions of a magistrate court’s order after Munawwar Ali Sayyad, a casting director and fitness trainer, filed a complaint against the siblings. Sayyad in his complaint claimed that the duo’s tweets promoted communal enmity.
The HC will continue hearing the arguments on February 26 and the interim protection from arrest granted to Ranaut and her sister Rangoli will continue till then.
Ranaut's counsel Rizwan Siddique told a bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that the actor had not committed any wrong through her tweets.
He said the magistrate's court in suburban Bandra had erred in allowing registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Ranaut on charges including sedition. Siddique urged the High Court to quash the lower court's order as well as the FIR.
"There is absolute non-application of mind in the (Bandra) court's order. Even the sections invoked against me do not constitute any offence. None of my tweets have invoked any reactions from the public. They will not attract a punishment as they were not followed by violence. What happened after the tweet? Was there any criminal act after my tweets?" Siddique told the HC on the behalf of Ranaut.
The actor and her sister Rangoli had challenged a magistrate's court’s order to initiate criminal proceedings against them and the subsequent summons issued by the Mumbai Police.
In an affidavit filed in the HC earlier this month, Sayyad had said that among other things, Ranaut and Rangoli promoted "hatred and contempt, and incited disaffection towards the Maharashtra government," through their tweets.
He said in the affidavit that the magistrate's court was therefore, justified in directing the police to initiate proceedings and invoke the offence of sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code against them.
In his complaint to the magistrate court, Sayyed had alleged that Ranaut, through her tweets and television interviews, had continuously defamed Hindi film industry by portraying Bollywood as a hub of nepotism, favouritism, drug addicts, communally-biased people and murderers, etc.
However, Ranaut's counsel Siddique on Monday denied these allegations.
He told the HC that the Bandra court had failed to follow due procedure and didn't apply its mind in permitting the police to initiate action against Ranaut and her sister.
Earlier last month, Sayyad had also filed an application seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Ranaut for allegedly breaching a previous undertaking she had given to the HC.
He said in his plea that on November 24, Ranaut had given an undertaking that she will not make statements pertaining to the Mumbai Police's investigation into the sedition case filed against her.
However, on January 8, just before she went to the police station, Ranaut tweeted a video in which she spoke to her fans about the investigation, Sayyad had said.
The HC is hearing Ranaut's plea against the Bandra court and Sayyad's contempt application together.
(With PTI inputs)
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