HC dismisses plea on lawyer’s charges paid by BMC in Kangana case

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HC dismisses plea on lawyer's fees paid by BMC in Kangana case

Mumbai: The Bombay Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea contesting fees paid by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to a senior attorney in the case of the demolition of actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow. The court cannot disrupt or regulate such decisions. A department bank of Judges SS Shinde and Manish Pitale rejected the petition filed by a Sharad Yadav who claimed the BMC paid senior counsel Aspi Chinoy 82.50 lakh for representing civil society in the petition filed by Ranaut.

“This is an area that we cannot interfere in or regulate. What fees should be charged by a registered attorney or a senior attorney should not be investigated by this court,” the bank said.

Yadav, who claims to be an RTI activist, had requested an investigation from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the matter and said the BMC had caused losses to the treasury.

The plea in law alleged that the BMC should not have appointed such senior lawyers on “simple and minor” matters.

However, the HC said it was not for the court to rule on such matters.

“It is up to the BMC to decide who to appoint. It may be a simple and small case for you (Yadav), but it could have been an important one for the BMC,” said Justice Shinde.

“Who will decide whether it is an important or a minor matter? The decision must be made by the relevant authority,” the court said.

As with any other litigation, the BMC can appoint any attorney it wishes and there can be no judicial restriction, Justice Shinde said.

The court also said that if the petitioner believes that there has been an offense of fraud or loss of treasury he can go to the police or a district court with a private complaint.

Ranaut reached out to HC in September last year and challenged the BMC to demolish part of their bungalow in Pali Hill.

She claimed the BMC acted out of revenge.

However, the city administration claimed that the bungalow had been converted in violation of the building permits.

The Supreme Court ruled the demolition in November last year, saying the BMC acted out of malice.