A sessions court in Mumbai on Tuesday rejected actor Kangana Ranaut’s plea seeking permanent exemption from appearance in the defamation case filed by Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, PTI reported.

In its order, the court said that Ranaut will only be exempted in specific situations if needed.

“Application of accused for her permanent exemption is rejected,” the court said, according to The Indian Express. “The advocate for accused is informed that this court assures the accused that she will be exempted on specific situations if needed by consent of both sides.”

The magistrate, however, exempted Ranaut from appearing before the court on Tuesday and adjourned the hearing on the case till April, according to PTI.

In June 2021, Ranaut had moved a plea seeking permanent exemption from appearing before the court on grounds that she needs to travel within India and also overseas to fulfill her professional commitments, according to The Tribune.

The defamation case

Akhtar had filed a defamation case against Ranaut in November 2020 for her comments during a television interview regarding actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June that year. Ranaut had told Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami that Akhtar was part of a “suicide gang” and that “he can get away with pretty much anything in Mumbai”.

Akhtar has accused Ranaut of causing “irreparable damage” to his reputation through her statements on the television channel.

During the proceedings of the defamation case, Ranaut filed a counter complaint against Akhtar in September 2021. She accused Akhtar of “extortion and criminal intimidation”.

She alleged that during a feud with actor Hrithik Roshan, Akhtar had called her and her sister Rangoli Chandel to his home with “malafide intention and ulterior motive”