New Delhi/Nagpur: Delhi High Court has dismissed Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to stay trial court proceedings in criminal defamation case filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. HC said that Kejriwal’s plea to stop trial against him and other AAP leaders is ‘devoid of merit’.
“The request of the petitioner to adjourn the court proceedings before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) is rejected, being devoid of merit and the same is culminated into dismissal of the present petition,” Justice P S Teji said.
“Nothing have been brought before this court to the effect that continuation of criminal proceedings is abuse of the process of law before the CMM and any order is required by this court to secure the ends of justice.
“Thus, this court is of the view that the order of the CMM, dated May 19, 2016 continuing with the proceedings is free from perversity, impropriety, illegality and non- sustainability which compelled this court to exercise the inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr PC,” the court said.
The high court had reserved its verdict on July 25 on Kejriwal’s plea challenging the trial court’s May 19 order by which it had turned down the Delhi Chief Minister’s request to adjourn hearing on a criminal defamation case before it, till the high court decided a related civil suit. As per Kejriwal’s plea, there are two cases–one civil and the other criminal–filed against AAP leaders on the same allegations and the trial court should have stayed the proceedings in the matter, but it had declined.
“The trial court judge had said that he has no power to stay the proceedings,” senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Kejriwal, had said during the arguments by quoting from the lower court’s order and had added, “Power to stay can be exercised by postponing the matter also” Opposing the contention, senior advocates Harish Salve and Siddharth Luthra, representing Jaitley, had said that in “today’s world, the words used are more powerful than sword”. “No prejudice would be caused to the AAP leaders if both the civil suit before high court and the criminal proceedings before the trial court go contemporaneously,” Luthra had said.
Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation complaint alleging Kejriwal and five AAP leaders — Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai — had defamed him in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy. On April 7, the trial court had granted bail to Kejriwal and others after they had appeared before it.
Jaitley had on December 21, 2015 filed the criminal defamation case against the AAP leaders 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 in the 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.