Arvind Kejriwal fined Rs 5000: A recap of the defamation suit filed against him
The Delhi CM finds himself dogged by defamation lawsuits.delhi Updated: Sep 04, 2017 14:38 IST
The Delhi High Court on Monday fined chief minister Arvind Kejriwal Rs 5,000 for delaying his response in the defamation suit filed against him by finance minister Arun Jaitley.
Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta directed Kejriwal to deposit the fine with the Army Welfare Fund and posted the matter for October 12. The fine has been imposed in the second defamation suit filed by Arun Jaitley objecting to the use of an offensive word by Kejriwal’s lawyer. This is distinct from the ongoing defamation Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) defamation suit against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders that Jaitley filed in 2015.
As defamation suit after defamation suit continues to dog Kejriwal’s steps, here is a recap of the particular case:
1) The original criminal defamation complaint was filed by Jaitley in December 2015. In his complaint, he alleged that Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders made defaming statements against him regarding his tenure as the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) president from December 1999 to December 2013. He sought Rs 10 crores in damages for the harm caused to his reputation.
2) Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani appeared for Kejriwal in the case. In December 2016, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had asked the finance department of Delhi government to release the appearance fee of Rs 3 crore to Jethmalani. However, the law department raised concerns and the matter was sent to Delhi L-G Ani Baijal for approval. Jethmalani later told media that he would treat Kejriwal as his ‘poor client’ and appear free of cost.
3) On May 17, 2017, during a hearing of the case, Jaitley strongly objected to Ram Jethmalani’s use of the word ‘crook’ during cross-examination. Jaitley asked Jethmalani if the word was used at his client’s instruction and the senior counsel confirmed that, leading Jaitley to file another Rs 10 crore defamation case against Kejriwal.
4) The second lawsuit caused friction between Jethmalani and Kejriwal. The Delhi chief minister filed an affidavit in court stating that it was “inconceivable” that he would instruct the senior lawyer to use offensive words. In response, on July 26 Jethmalani quit the case, alleging that Kejriwal had used even worse words against Jaitley during private conversation. Jethmalani also asked the CM to settle his Rs 2 crore fee, but later said he would waive it.
5) On May 23, 2017, the Delhi High Court had issued summons to Kejriwal, asking him to respond why the defamation proceedings against him should not be initiated. The court had set July 26 as the deadline by which Kejriwal had to respond. The current fine was imposed after Jaitley’s counsel Manik Dogra informed the court that the chief minister’s written statement to the suit was filed beyond the time of two weeks granted by this court on July 26.
6) Apart from the two cases filed by Jaitley, Kejriwal is battling 9 other criminal defamation suits, including cases slapped against him by Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal and Pawan Khera, former political secretary during Sheila Dixit’s stint as chief minister.