The Delhi High Court today upheld its single judge order dismissing a plea by suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad seeking rejection of a civil defamation suit filed against him by Hockey India (HI) and its president Narinder Dhruv Batra.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said the single judge had rightly rejected his application and given reasoning in his March 9 order.
“We do not find any reason to interfere with the single judge’s order. This appeal is misconceived and is rejected,” the bench said.
While refusing to reject a plaint filed by HI and its president against Azad, a single judge had noted that Article 105 of the Constitution does not allow an MP to make defamatory statements outside Parliament.
Azad had moved the larger bench against a single judge order, saying the statements do not attract defamation as the alleged words attributed to him are privileged under Article 105 of the Constitution.
The bench, however, did not agree with him and upheld the single judge finding that “it was unable to read Article 105 as allowing a Member of Parliament to make outside Parliament, in the name/garb of being a representative of the people of his constituency or in public interest, statements which are defamatory, without being liable therefor”.
The single judge had also rejected Azad’s application for dismissal of Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed against him by HI and Batra and decided to examine whether the sports body and its president had suffered any loss on account of the former cricketer’s action and if so, what compensation they were entitled to.
It had framed issues against the former cricketer and had said that it would examine whether these statements were made by Azad in public interest and whether it amounts to a fair comment and to what effect.
Azad has allegedly made defamatory allegations against the sports body in his various communications to the Finance Minister and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs Secretary.
The single judge court has fixed the matter for May 15 before the Joint Registrar to decide whether any defamatory statements were made by them.
In a civil suit, when one party affirms and other party denies a material proposition of fact or law, then only issues arise.