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Delhi high court dismisses Kejriwal’s plea against speedy trial in defamation case

Jaitley had filed the suit against Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, claiming they made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving the DDCA, harming his reputation.

delhi Updated: Aug 29, 2017 07:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
arvind kejriwal,delhi high court,arun jaitley
Jaitley had filed the suit against Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, claiming they made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving the DDCA, harming his reputation.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a “strange” plea by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal against the decision of a single judge bench to expedite hearing of a civil defamation suit filed by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley against him and five other AAP leaders.

“We are constrained to observe, much against our will, that the present appeals essentially impugn a decision which is clearly aimed solely at ensuring orderly and dignified conducting of the trial proceedings,” the court said.

“Such appeals do disservice to the cause of justice in the long run, and we would request counsel to be more circumspect in raising such challenges. We say no more”.

The court was of the opinion that the pleas against the single judge bench’s direction was “totally misconceived, and only serve to protract proceedings which, in the interests of the parties to the lis (suit), deserve to be brought to a quietus as soon as possible”.

On July 26, the single judge had directed the joint registrar to expedite the recording of evidence in the civil defamation suit while disposing of an application filed by Jaitley.

Jaitley had filed the suit against Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpayee, claiming they made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving the DDCA, harming his reputation.

Jaitley rubbishes claim

Jaitley rubbished in the high court Kejriwal’s claim that he spared Congress leaders and only targeted him in a defamation suit, even though similar allegations relating to the irregularities in DDCA were made by both parties.

Jaitley said a person accused of malicious falsehood and defamation cannot claim any dilution in his guilt on the ground that other offenders have been spared.

The BJP leader, appearing before joint registrar Pankaj Gupta, objected to the CM’s question and said it was for him to assess as to which statement made by which person had caused significant damage to his reputation.

His response came after senior counsel Anoop George Chaudhari and advocate Anupam Srivastav, appearing for Kejriwal, put to him that though Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had made allegations of irregularities against him at a press conference in December 2015, but the union minister chose to sue only the AAP chief.

Jaitley was present in the court for the fifth round of cross-examination in a civil defamation suit of Rs 10 crore filed by him against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders.

First Published: Aug 28, 2017 23:17 IST