A Delhi Court on Saturday issued a bailable warrant against Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi for her non-appearance in a criminal defamation complaint filed against her, party chief Arvind Kejriwal and others by outgoing Telecom minister Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal.
The court had last month warned of coercive measures against Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and former Delhi chief minister, and other leaders – Manish Sisodia, Prashant Bhushan and Ilmi – after they had failed to appear before it in the matter.
Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Sunil Kumar Sharma on Saturday issued the bailable warrant against Ilmi after she did not turn up again despite summons issued earlier.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan was present in the court.
The court, however, allowed the exemption application of Sisodia for Saturday and did not impose any cost on him on the ground that his father had expired on May 22.
Meanwhile, the court asked former Delhi law minister and senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, appearing for Arvind Kejriwal, who is in judicial custody in another case till June 6, to file an appropriate exemption application and ensure his presence on August 23, the next date of hearing.
“In all civil matters, the trial proceeds without the presence of the accused,” Bhushan said, while seeking exemption on behalf of Kejriwal.
The AAP chief was remanded in judicial custody till June 6 and is lodged in Tihar jail after he refused to submit a bail bond in another defamation case filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
Advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for Amit, on Saturday opposed the pleas of the accused saying, “This has become a habit. We have travelled three months but we are still at the same stage. If they seek exemption, then at least the due legal process shall continue.” The court also directed that all the accused shall remain present before it on the next date of hearing.
The court had on July 24 last year summoned Kejriwal, Sisodia, Prashant and Ilmi on the criminal defamation suit filed by Amit, who is a lawyer, in which he had alleged that the AAP leaders had said that he had taken advantage of his father’s position to represent a telecom company in court cases here.
Later on April 19, the court had imposed a cost of Rs. 2,500 each on Sisodia, Prashant and Ilmi while allowing their plea seeking exemption from personal appearance.
It, however, had allowed the exemption application of Kejriwal for that day and did not impose any cost on him as he was contesting the Lok Sabha poll.
All the four accused had not appeared before the court on the ground that they were busy campaigning for Lok Sabha election.
On April 15, the Supreme Court had declined to stay the proceedings in the case in the trial court and had said it can only expedite the hearing. The apex court had posted the matter for July 22