New Delhi: A court here on Thursday rejected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's plea to stay the proceedings in a criminal defamation case filed against him and five other AAP leaders by Union minister Arun Jaitley.
The application moved by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on behalf of Kejriwal told the court that there were two cases -- one civil and the other criminal -- filed against the AAP leaders on same allegations and the court should, on its own, stay the hearing in the matter and it should be adjourned for some time so that the accused can approach the high court.
The civil defamation suit is filed by Jaitley before the Delhi High Court seeking Rs 10 crore in damages.
"I may note that this court can not stay the proceedings on its own/merely on account of pendency of civil suit before the High Court of Delhi.
"In my opinion, the civil suit for damages on account of defamation and criminal defamation case both stand on different footing and can be tried simultaneously and there is no impediment qua proceedings further in case in the hand. The accused persons have been summoned in the present case and as on date, there is no stay whatsoever from any court of law," Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass said in the order.
The court has now fixed the matter for 16 July for arguments on notice. It also granted exemption to AAP leaders Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh from personal appearance for Thursday.
During proceedings, Jethmalani told the court, "Adjourn the matter, so that I can approach the High Court in this regard... I don't want to face both the cases simultaneously."
The court, meanwhile, directed the complainant's counsel to supply the copies of the documents, filed along with the complaint, to the accused persons.
"In the larger interest of justice and to cut short the controversy, copies be supplied today itself," the court said.
In its order, the court, however, noted that if there was any deficiency in the copies, the accused persons were ought to have promptly complaint and not-waited for one month and the plea was too "trifle" a plea to accept.
Jaitley had filed the criminal defamation complaint alleging Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders had allegedly defamed him in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy.
The application seeking documents was moved by senior advocate H S Phoolka, appearing for one of the AAP leaders, who said legible documents were not given to them.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Jaitley, however, claimed all the documents had been supplied to the accused persons (AAP leaders) and "they are just trying to delay the proceedings... The documents sought by the accused persons are not a part of the complaint."
He said, "They (accused) have come with a fictitious story that the copies were not complete," and requested the court to conduct day-to-day proceedings in the case.
During the proceedings, Kejriwal, AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Raghav Chadha were present in the court room.
The court had on 17 April granted bail to Kejriwal and AAP leaders Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Vishwas, Chadha and Deepak Bajpai.
While recording his statement, Jaitley, who was the DDCA president from December 1999 to December 2013, said the claims against him and his family members lowered his dignity in the eyes of the public, adding their statements were false.
Jaitley had on 21 December, 2015 filed the criminal defamation case against them and sought their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of up to two years in jail.
Besides the criminal defamation case, Jaitley has also filed a civil defamation suit before the Delhi High Court seeking Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders, for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in DDCA when he was its president.
Updated Date: May 19, 2016 21:17 PM