SC declines to stay defamation case against Kejriwal, others

New Delhi : The Supreme Court Tuesday declined to stay the proceedings in defamation case filed against former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders by Amit Sibal, son of Law Minister Kapil Sibal.

Declining the plea to stay the defamation proceedings before the lower court, the bench of Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice S.A.Bobde directed the listing of the matter for hearing July 22.

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Senior counsel Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party leaders, had pleaded for an expeditious hearing of their case.

The Delhi High Court by its Jan 16 order permitted Kejriwal and three others including Manish Sisodia, Prashant Bhushan and Shazia Ilmi, to move the magistrate’s court and seek their discharge and dispensed with their personal appearance before the lower court.

The lower court had issued summons to Kejriwal and others. Kejriwal had then moved the high court seeking exemption from appearance as he wanted to be discharged in the matter.

Amit Sibal, in his plea, had said that the high court could not have conferred the power of discharge on a magistrate on a summon triable case instituted on a private complaint when there exist no such provision in the Indian Penal Code.

The petitioner also argued whether the high court could have exempted Kejriwal and three others from personal appearance before the magistrate when no such ground was prayed or pleaded by them.

In the press conference addressed by Kejriwal and others, Amit Sibal said that it was “directly and indirectly alleged and imputed” that his father, also the communication minister, had acted in a “dishonest and unethical manner, placing personal interest over the national interest, in order to help a telecom company, Vodafone International Holding BV to illegally avoid an alleged tax liability”.