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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Defamation case: Tytler offers apology, Phoolka refuses

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 02, 2014
First Published: 20:20 IST(2/7/2014) | Last Updated: 20:59 IST(2/7/2014)

Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, accused in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by a senior lawyer representing victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that he was ready to tender "unconditional apology" to the advocate to settle the matter.

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However, senior advocate H S Phoolka, who is a complainant in the case, refused to accept Tytler's offer, saying "any compromise" in a serious matter like this would send a wrong message to the people.

His response came after Tytler's counsel told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Gaurav Rao that his client has offered to tender unconditional apology as no public interest was involved in the complaint filed by an individual.

"The (alleged) issue is of 2004. We are in 2014. Much time has expired. My client (Tytler) is in public life....and he has been not held guilty by any court...My client will tender unconditional apology," Tytler's lawyer told the court.

The court asked Phoolka whether he was ready to settle the matter and accept the apology tendered by Tytler as "it is a defamation complaint and it has nothing to do with the riots."

Phoolka, however, did not accept the suggestions of the court and said, "The matter is of great importance and any settlement will send a wrong message among the people. I cannot settle the matter and any compromise is not possible." "I will not do this (settlement). Whatever you (judge) want, you may decide but settlement is not possible at all," he said.

During the arguments, the court asked Phoolka to bring on record the telecasted interview, in which Tytler had allegedly defamed Phoolka, in the form of VCD/DVD so that it could go through the same to ascertain the facts.

"It has transpired that part of the allegations are oral testimony and part are in the form of transcripts in electronic video cassatte....I have to go through the cassette and verify the transcripts," the judge said.

"...the complainant (Phoolka) is directed to place on record the telecasted interview in the form of VCD/DVD and if it is not possible to get the original CD, then VCR should be brought or the video cassette on record should be converted into CD, a copy of which should be given to the accused," the court said and posted the matter for further hearing on August 2.

During the hearing, Tytler's counsel told the court that they have not yet received the CD containing transcripts of the interview given by Tytler to a private news channel.

The court said that the transcripts does not contain the official seal of the private news channel which had aired the interview on September 7, 2004 and asked Phoolka to supply the original transcripts of the same.

The court, which was scheduled to pass order on whether fresh charge of criminal intimidation be added against Tytler, posted the matter for August 2.

Phoolka, who has filed the complaint against Tytler, had alleged that the Congress leader had passed derogatory remark about him in a news programme aired on September 7, 2004, Phoolka, in his complaint filed in 2006, had alleged that

Tytler had levelled false and derogatory allegations against him to harm his reputation in the society.

His counsel had earlier told the court that Tytler should also be prosecuted for the offence of criminal intimidation under section 506 of the IPC.

The case against Tytler was filed in a Ludhiana court in Punjab. Later on, it was transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on Tytler's plea.

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