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Jaitley defamation case: HC dismisses Kejriwal’s plea to summon DDCA records

In December 2015, Union minister Arun Jaitley filed a civil defamation case against Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders claiming they made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving the DDCA.

delhi Updated: Nov 01, 2017 11:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Delhi government,Arun Jaitley
AAP leaders had accused Arun Jaitley of corruption while he was the president of DDCA from 2000 to 2013. (AFP FILE)

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to summon the minutes of meetings of the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) between 1999 and 2014 in a defamation suit filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley. The court said that the judiciary cannot be allowed to be used as a “roving and fishing enquiry” while dismissing the chief minister’s plea.

Kejriwal, along with five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, are facing a Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed by BJP leader Jaitley. Besides Kejriwal, the five others named in the case are Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.

The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption while he was the president of DDCA from 2000 to 2013.

Joint registrar Pankaj Gupta said it was not Kejriwal’s defence that he made the alleged defamatory statements based on the records he wanted to summon and hence cannot be allowed to lead evidence beyond what he had pleaded in his application.

The court questioned how the AAP leader could prove malfunctioning in the cricket body on the basis of the minutes when he is “totally unaware” of its content.

“... it can be held that it is nowhere the defence of the defendant 1 (Kejriwal) that he made the statements on the basis of the subject record. Therefore, the defendant 1 cannot be allowed to lead evidence beyond pleading,” the court said.

“Further, the defendant 1 cannot be allowed to use the court as an instrument to create evidence or conduct the roving and fishing enquiry for him,” the court added.

In the previous hearing, Jaitley had opposed Kejriwal’s application saying the AAP leader has been trying to delay the proceedings by filing “frivolous” pleas, including the current one.

Jaitley had filed the defamation suit against the AAP leaders for allegedly levelling “defamatory” charges against him in connection with alleged irregularities in DDCA while he was its president.

Kejriwal had sought the summoning of the minutes of the meetings held by the general body, the executive committee or the board of directors of the DDCA between 1999 and 2014.

The Delhi chief minister is facing a separate Rs 10 crore defamation suit by Jaitley after the AAP leader’s former lawyer, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, used “scandalous words” while cross-examining the BJP leader.

Kejriwal had later told the court that he had not instructed Jethmalani to use such words against the minister.

Jaitley had denied all the allegations by the AAP leaders in December 2015 and filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from them Kejriwal, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements in a case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 10:59 IST