The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Monday a plea of AAP leader Raghav Chadha alleging that he has been made to face a criminal defamation case only for retweeting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar considered the submission of Chadha, the spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party, that his plea be accorded urgent hearing, reported Press Trust of India.
Senior lawyer Anand Grover, representing Chadha, alleged that the AAP leader has been made to face the defamation case only because he retweeted certain alleged objectionable tweets of CM Kejriwal.
“This does not constitute (criminal) defamation,” Grover said.
“We will hear it on Monday,” the bench said.
Chadha has moved the apex court against the Delhi High Court’s July 11 order which had refused to stay proceedings in the lower court against him in the defamation matter and had posted his plea for hearing in October.
Chadha had moved the high court seeking setting aside of the trial court order summoning him as an accused in the case.
He has said that he had raised an important question of law before the high court as to whether the trial court could have summoned him without determining if the alleged defamatory statements, which were purpotedly made through Twitter, were covered under the penal provision of defamation under the IPC.
He has sought the apex court’s direction to the high court to urgently hear the matter and consider the application for stay of proceedings before the trial court.
Kejriwal and other AAP leaders — Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai — are facing a criminal defamation suit after they claimed that Jaitley was allegedly involved in corrupt practices when he was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.
Jaitley, who had denied all the allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had also filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and the others, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.