`Illegal' merger of flats by Kangana Ranaut: HC continues interim protection till February 5

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday continued an interim order passed by a lower court restraining the Mumbai civic body from taking action against alleged irregularities at actor Kangana Ranaut’s flats here till February 5.

The high court directed her to inform by that date if she would apply to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seeking regularization of alleged unauthorized changes.

The BMC in March 2018 had issued a notice to Ranaut for alleged illegal merger of three flats owned by her at Orchid Breeze building in suburban Khar.

The Dindoshi civil court dismissed her suit against the notice in December 2020, so she moved the HC.

The civil court, while dismissing the suit, had noted that there was “grave violation of the sanctioned plan” while amalgamating the three flats.

The actor’s lawyer Birendra Saraf on Tuesday told the high court that “vendetta” was being pursued against her.

The illegal construction had been made by the developer and not Ranaut, he contended.

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy and advocate Joel Carlos, appearing for the BMC, argued that there were at least eight irregularities in the flat.

Advocate Saraf then told the court that he would take instructions from the actor on whether she was willing to approach the BMC seeking regularization.

In the meanwhile, the court should grant her protection from any coercive action, he said.

The high court asked BMC lawyers if there was any bar for regularization.

Advocate Chinoy said an application for regularization is normally filed within 30 days from receiving the notice.

“In this case, she is already three years late. But the court can condone the delay,” the lawyer said.

The court then adjourned the hearing to Friday.

“The civil court order dated December 22, 2020 shall remain in abeyance until February 5 and the interim order (about not taking coercive action) shall continue till then,” the court said.

Ranaut’s petition said since she bought the flats in 2013 she had not made any structural changes.

She had carried out only “certain cosmetic changes”, said the appeal filed through advocates Aseem Naphade, Monisha Bhangale and Prasanna Bhangale.

Last year, the BMC had initiated demolition of alleged unauthorized construction at Ranaut’s bungalow in Pali Hill area.

The HC held the BMC’s action illegal and malicious.