Bombay High Court provided relief to actress Preity Zinta and quashed a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against her by a magistrate court for failing to appear before it to record statement in a cheque bounce case.
Justice Sadhana Jadhav, while quashing the warrant, observed, "the approach of the magistrate in issuing the warrant was pedantic."
The Andheri metropolitan magistrate had on January 27 issued a warrant against Zinta after she failed to appear before it to record her statement in the cheque bounce case, filed by scriptwriter Abbas Tyrewala.
The actor then approached the High Court challenging the warrant.
Zinta's counsel Hitesh Jain pointed out to the High Court that she had filed an application before the magistrate requesting it to record her statement through her lawyers. As per a Supreme Court judgement, recording of statement through advocate in cheque bounce cases is permissible.
However, the magistrate refused to hear the application and issued a non-bailable warrant against Zinta and posted the matter for February 10.
Jain pointed out to the High Court that in other similar cases, the magistrate had taken two years to record statement of the accused.
"In this case the magistrate adjourns the matter for three or four weeks and insists on Zinta's presence. Whereas other matters are adjourned for three to six months," Jain said.
Justice Jadhav rapped the magistrate for treating this case as a special case only because a celebrity was involved. "You (magistrate) are giving the matter a celebrity status and treating it as an exceptional case," the judge said.
The High Court also did not approve the magistrate's approach of not deciding Zinta's application. It has now directed the magistrate to hear and decide the application.
Tyrewala, who had written the script for Zinta's film 'Ishkq in Paris', had filed the case after a cheque of Rs 18.9 lakh issued by Zinta bounced.