Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday told Delhi High Court that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders had carried out “calculated” defamatory campaign against him and his family with “ulterior motives” to get political mileage.
Saying that freedom of speech and expression was “not absolute” he said, “It did not extend a licence to anyone to defame any other citizen having fundamental rights under the Constitution.”
His submission came after Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai filed their response to Jaitley’s defamation case.
Replying to Jaitley’s defamation suit, Kejriwal had described his ‘claim of high public character is totally frivolous.’
Jailtey has filed civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal seeking damages worth Rs 10 crore after the latter and his fellow Aam Aadmi Party leaders demanded his resignation in DDCA corruption case.
Besides Kejriwal, other AAP leaders are Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha, Deepak Vajpayee.
In his reply, Kejriwal said, “The plaintiff’s claim that he enjoys and in fact possesses high public character is a totally frivolous and unsustainable claim. No injury of any kind has been caused to the plaintiff’s reputation which he claims. This is not a suit for injury to his private character, but to his public character, if at all.
However, Jaitley, in his response, as reported by news agency PTI, said that the “defendants have, individually and collectively, in a calculated manner launched a per se defamatory campaign against plaintiff (Jaitley) and his family members for gaining political mileage and ulterior motives.”
The Delhi CM and others also moved an oral plea on Friday through senior advocate H S Phoolka, seeking time to file more documents in support of the statements made by them.
This was opposed by senior advocates Rajiv Nayar and Pratibha M Singh, appearing for Jaitley, who contended that no more time be given as the defendants (Kejriwal and others) were expected to file all documents by today.
However, Joint Registrar Kovai Venugopal, who is hearing the matter, granted Kejriwal and others three weeks time as a “last opportunity” in the “interest of justice” to file the documents and listed the matter on 15 March.
Meanwhile, AAP leader Deepak Bajpai has moved an application contending that Jaitley in his defamation suit has not made any specific averments against him and thus, he should be removed as a defendant.
(News cource: PTI)