Defamation case: Will not interfere with single-judge order, says high court
The Delhi high court on Monday refused to interfere with a single judge order declining to remove the alleged defamatory statements and posts shared by BJP MLA Vijender Gupta against Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot over alleged irregularities in the procurement of 1000 low-floor buses.
“We do not want to pass an order because this may have some repercussion on one or the other party,” a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.
“In politics...I mean….you don’t have to be so sensitive about this,” the court remarked.
Gupta’s counsel verbally assured the court that till the next date of hearing on September 20, before the single judge, his client will not make any press statements or tweets on the issue.
The bench, taking note of this, ordered that on the next date of hearing, none of the parties would seek adjournment and requested the judge to proceed with the matter.
The court’s order came on an appeal filed by Gahlot against the single judge’s August 27 order refusing to pass an ex parte order in the civil defamation suit against the BJP MLA. The court, while issuing summons to Gupta, also gave him 30 days to respond to the suit saying that prima facie no personal allegations were made against Gahlot.
On Monday, senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, representing Gahlot, argued that the approach of single judge was erroneous and that the personal allegations were made against the AAP leader by Gupta. He said an LG appointed committee has already given the government a clean chit in the matter.
Nayar argued that even after filing a civil and a criminal defamation plea, Gupta released a press note stating that the high court has “rejected” all the contentions and arguments of the Delhi minister.
When the court asked Gupta’s counsel Ranjit Kumar about it, he replied that it was Gupta’s understanding of the order and maybe wrongly worded.
Taking note of Gupta’s lawyer’s submission, the high court disposed of Gahlot’s appeal.
In the civil defamation suit, Gahlot has sought ₹5 crore damages from Gupta for allegedly making scandalous statements relating to irregularities in the procurement of low floor buses. He also demanded the removal of alleged defamatory posts by Gupta on the social media.
HT reported on July 11 that the L-G-appointed panel gave a clean chit to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) in the tendering and procurement of the buses, although it found some “procedural lapses” arising out of “a bona fide decision making”.
Last month, the Union government recommended a CBI probe in the matter.