In a relief to actor Preity Zinta, the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed a non-bailable warrant issued against her by a magisterial court for failing to appear before it in a cheque-bouncing case.
"It appears that the learned Magistrate has taken a pedantic approach by issuing non-bailable warrant against the present applicant by keeping other applications pending," Justice Sadhana Jadhav observed while passing the order.
She has directed the metropolitan magistrate's court to decide on Ms. Zinta's application for exemption in the next three weeks.
The High Court had, a few days ago, refused to quash this case of cheque-bouncing against the actor, directing her to produce the material in the case to the lower court. Scriptwriter Abbas Tyrewala had filed a case against her alleging that the cheque of Rs. 18.9 Lakh given to him as remuneration for the script he wrote for her film 'Ishkq in Paris', had bounced.
After he filed a case, Ms. Zinta had submitted an exemption application before the magisterial court seeking exemption from physical presence and requesting that her advocate be allowed to record the statement on her behalf. After she had repeatedly failed to remain present in the lower court for the hearing, Mr. Tyrewala pressed for issuance of non-bailable warrant. The trial court had allowed it observing that "the accused has intentionally committed breach of order and remained absent."
The Bombay High Court observed on Thursday that the court issued the warrant without deciding on her exemption application. "The learned Magistrate ought to have decided the application filed by the applicant and rejected the exemption application," the judge observed. Ms. Zinta's counsel Hitesh Jain argued that according to the guidelines laid down by the Bombay High Court, the presence of accused was not required at every stage.
The Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate court had issued a warrant against Ms. Zinta on January 27, 2014. She then approached the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of the warrant. Earlier, she had sought that the case of cheque bouncing itself be quashed. The Bombay High Court had refused to entertain her plea, directing her to produce the evidence before the lower court. She had sought exemption from the next hearing in the trial court too, which was also rejected.