New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea of AAP leader Deepak Bajpai challenging a trial court order summoning him in a criminal defamation case filed against him by Union minister Arun Jaitley.
Justice IS Mehta, who pronounced the order in-chamber, said Bajpai has failed to explain the delay of 458 days in filing the revision petition and his plea for condonation of this delay "lacks justifiable and bonafide grounds".
Court sources said the plea to condone the delay was dismissed on the ground that it was "misuse of process of law" and "consequently the revision petition is also dismissed".
The order came on the plea of Bajpai who along with others was put on trial in the defamation case filed by Jaitley against chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders in the controversy surrounding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Bajpai had challenged the lower court's separate orders summoning and framing notice against him for the alleged offence of defamation. He had also challenged another order by which his application seeking to be heard on the point of notice was also rejected.
The high court, in its 18-page order, said Bajpai had initially not challenged the trial court's orders of 9 March, 2016, 30 January and 25 March. He had later challenged them just to avail a fresh process under the garb of his application under the Limitation Act which "factually is misuse of process of law".
"Such misuse of process of law cannot be termed as bonafide," it added.
The court noted in its order that while Bajpai had received certified copies of documents in the trial court on 25 April , 2017, he claimed in his application for condonation of delay that he had got the copies in June.
This is "without any justifiable and bonafide explanation" and he has failed to explain the delay on each and every account, it said.
Bajpai's contention that he was not heard by the trial court before framing of notice against him was opposed by Jaitley's counsel who had submitted that in a summons case, there was no concept of hearing an accused at the stage of framing of notice or before that.
Advocate Prashant Mendiratta, appearing for Bajpai, had said the AAP leader resides outside the jurisdiction of the trial court and cannot be summoned by it without an inquiry under the CrPC, which was not done in this case.
However, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Jaitley, had said there was a gross delay in filing the petition and the application for condonation of delay does not comply with the proposition of law under the Limitation Act which says that each day's delay must be explained.
Advocates Manik Dogra and Manoj Taneja, who also represented Jaitley, had said the plea was filed after over one-and-a half years which "establishes a clear case of malafide and a sorry attempt to delay the ongoing trial".
Besides Kejriwal and Bajpai, the other AAP leaders accused in the case are Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha.
Jaitley had filed the complaint alleging that the accused had defamed him in a controversy regarding DDCA which he headed for over a decade. Jaitley was the DDCA president from December 1999 to December 2013.
On 21 December, 2015, he had filed the criminal defamation case against them and sought their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of up to two years in jail.
A civil defamation suit was also filed by Jaitley before the Delhi High Court in the matter seeking Rs 10 crore as damages.
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Updated Date: Oct 27, 2017 18:42:10 IST