A Mumbai court on Monday issued a bailable warrant against actor Kangana Ranaut after she failed to appear before it in connection with a defamation complaint filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The Andheri metropolitan magistrate's court issued a summons to Ranaut on February 1, directing her to appear before it on March 1.
However, Ranaut failed to appear on Monday following which Magistrate R R Khan issued a bailable warrant against her and posted the matter for further hearing on March 26. A lawyer in the case had earlier informed March 22 as the next date of hearing.
Ranaut's advocate Rizwan Siddiquee argued in the court that the summons and process were issued against Ranaut without following the procedure laid down in law and hence, were "bad in law".
Siddiquee said a petition would be filed in the Bombay high court challenging the process issued by the magistrate.
Akhtar's advocate Vrinda Grover, however, argued that even if the process is being challenged, Ranaut has to appear before the court as directed, in the absence of any stay on the summons by a higher court.
"It is the accused's right to appeal against the order, or even challenge the proceedings, that no one can deny and no one can stop, not even this court. However, she (Ranaut) has failed to comply with the order of this court and there is also no stay obtained from a higher court,"the lawyer argued.
Grover then filed an application seeking a non-bailable warrant to be issued against the actor.
This was opposed by Siddiquee.
Magistrate Khan observed that Ranaut was at the liberty to approach a higher court to challenge the process issued against her, but that would not absolve her from appearing before this court.
The court issued a bailable warrant against Ranaut and posted the matter for hearing on March 26.
Last month, the Mumbai police submitted a report to the court, saying an offence of defamation was made out against the actor.
Akhtar filed the complaint against Ranaut in November last year for allegedly making baseless and false statements against him which, according to him, damaged his reputation.
In his complaint, the lyricist claimed Ranaut had made defamatory comments against him in an interview by dragging his name while referring to a "coterie" existing in Bollywood, following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June last year.
Akhtar in his plea claimed the baseless comments made by Ranaut had caused damage to his reputation.