The term “thulla” used by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was made with reference to the Delhi Police officers who are “inefficient”, have “low productivity rate” and take money from street vendors, a court here has said dismissing a criminal defamation complaint against the AAP leader.
“It has not been said by the respondent (Kejriwal) that all Delhi Police personnel are thulla. On the other hand, the use of word ‘koi’ (someone) before ‘thulla’ clearly shows that the said imputation is neither directed towards complainant individually nor towards whole of Delhi Police as a class but towards an indeterminate and unidentifiable class of police officers of Delhi Police who are having lower productivity rate,” metropolitan magistrate Arun Kumar Garg said, in his order.
The court’s order came on a criminal defamation complaint filed against Kejriwal by a constable of Govindpuri police station who had claimed he was insulted by the CM’s remark in a TV interview in which he had referred to police as “thulla”.
The court, while dismissing the complaint, said, “To be more precise the said word appears to have been made with reference to those police officers who lack in efficiency and indulge in taking money from rehdi patri walas.”
It also said the statement given by Kejriwal during his interview on a TV channel on July 17, it is “not per se defamatory in as much as the meaning of term ‘thulla’ suggests that it is relative term to denote the performance level of a worker against fellow workers.”
“It is neither directed to the complainant individually nor to entire Delhi Police as a class but to an indeterminate and unidentifiable class of inefficient and corrupt police officials... Thus, there are no sufficient grounds to proceed further against the respondent (Kejriwal) and to summon him under section 500 of the IPC,” the court said.
In the order, the magistrate also referred to the recent Supreme Court verdict on pleas challenging constitutionality of provisions of defamation law.
The court also said before the complainant can maintain a complaint under Section 499/500 (defamation) of the IPC as a member of Delhi Police, he must show that the alleged defamatory imputation ‘thulla’ was directed against entire Delhi Police.