The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Zee group owner and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP, Subhash Chandra, and Delhi Police on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to quash a criminal defamation complaint filed by the BJP leader, reported PTI.
A bench of Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also exempted the Delhi chief minister from from personal appearance before a trial court on 11 December in the case.
The court, however, did not appear convinced on staying the proceedings before the trial court and listed the matter for further hearing on 22 January. This was after Kejriwal requested for a stay on the summons issued to him by the trial court in March this year.
Last year in November, Chandra had sought the prosecution of the Delhi chief minister for allegedly defaming him by levelling false allegations in the wake of demonetisation.
Chandra, chairman of the Essel group, had alleged that Kejriwal, while addressing a press conference on 11 November last year had made “false, fabricated and defamatory allegations” against him.
On Thursday, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Rishikesh Kumar, appeared for Kejriwal. They sought quashing of summons and the complaint filed before the trial court, on the ground that Chandra himself has not stepped into the witness box to prove his case.
The counsel also submitted that Chandra was a Member of Parliament, who stayed in Delhi, and he should have personally stepped into the witness box to prove his defamation case like other Union Ministers have done in the past.
“If the trial court admits such proxy complaints which have been filed through power of attorney, it would allow others also file such frivolous complaints in future,” Hegde submitted.
To this, the bench observed that the trial court had passed a detailed order with regard to the summoning of Chief Minister as an accused in the case.
“You are seeking a stay. Please point out the mistake in the trial court’s order,” the bench asked Kejriwal’s counsel.
However, it later said let the replies from the police and Chandra come in the matter.
In his plea, Chandra, the chairman of the Essel group, has alleged that Kejriwal, while addressing a press conference on November 11 last year, had made “false, fabricated and defamatory allegations” against him.
The complaint claimed that Kejriwal had, “without any lawful basis or justification, dragged the name of the complainant in the entire facade which has defamed and lowered the reputation of complainant in the eyes of general public and thus accused person (Kejriwal) has committed the offence of criminal defamation.
(With PTI inputs)