HC adjourns plea over lawyer's fees paid by BMC in Kangana case

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Mumbai, Dec 29 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a plea challenging the fees paid by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to a senior lawyer in the Kangana Ranaut bungalow demolition case.

The court questioned why the petitioner had moved the court over the issue, especially during vacation.

Sharad D Yadav, the petitioner, said he found out through the Right to Information (RTI) that the civic body paid Rs 82.50 lakh to senior advocate Aspi Chinoy who defended it in the petition filed by Ranaut.

The Bollywood star moved the high court in September when the BMC initiated demolition of a part of her bungalow for alleged unauthorized construction. The court in its ruling termed the BMC's action as illegal and malicious.

Yadav earlier this month filed a petition challenging the BMC's decision to engage a senior counsel and pay him such high fees.

He cited judgments of several high courts to argue that government must not waste funds by engaging senior counsels in 'petty matters'.

The BMC already had senior advocates representing it on a regular basis in important matters and need not have engaged advocate Chinoy, the plea said, seeking a 'CBI inquiry' and direction to the BMC to recover the amount.

BMC's counsel Joel Carlos on Tuesday argued that Yadav's plea was not maintainable. The BMC had the right to choose its lawyer, he said.

A vacation bench of Justices S S Shinde and Abhay Ahuja questioned the urgency of the matter.

'Who are you? What is the urgency? Why move before the vacation bench? Why are such petitions being filed?' the bench asked, adjourning the hearing to January 11. PTI AYA KRK KRK