Kangana office demolition was illegal, smacks of malice: HC

The Bombay High Court on Friday declared the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) action of demolishing part of Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow here as illegal and said it smacks of malafide intentions. A bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla said the demolition action was “bad in law”, and observed that it was carried out on “wrongful grounds” and “against the rights of the citizens”.
Stating that it does not approve of authorities using “muscle power” against any citizen, the high court also said that the case was fit for awarding compensation to Ranaut for the damages caused.
The bench, however, clarified that it did not condone any illegal construction carried out by any citizen, and neither did it approve of Ranaut’s tweets that led to the whole incident.
“This court does not approve of illegal works or of loose statements made against the government or against the film industry,” it said in its order. “We are of the view that the petitioner, being a public-spirited person, should exercise some restraint while tweeting,” the court said.
It, however, added that the comments made against the state or its machinery by a citizen in his or her individual capacity, must be ignored by the state. “And if any action is taken at all, it must be within the four walls of the legal system. Any sort of muscle power can not be indulged in by the state,” the bench said. It also directed Ranaut to show “restraint” in future while voicing her opinions in public.
It granted Ranaut permission to make the bungalow habitable in accordance with the sanctioned plan and with prior approvals of the civic body.
On the issue of compensation, the bench said it was appointing private firm m/s Shetgiri as the valuer to assess the damages caused in order to calculate the compensation amount due to Ranaut.
The valuer would hear the petitioner and the BMC on monetary damages caused to her due to the demolition.
“The valuer shall by March 2021 pass appropriate orders on compensation,” the court said. The charges of such valuation will be borne by Ranaut, the court said. (PTI)

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