HC notice to Vijender Gupta on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to quash summons in defamation case

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the state of National Capital Territory (NCT) and leader of opposition Vijender Gupta on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to quash summons in a defamation complaint against him by the BJP leader.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued notice to the state of NCT and Gupta seeking their stand on Kejriwal’s plea by November 20, the next date of hearing.

The court, however, declined to issue notice on Kejriwal’s application seeking stay on summons issued to him by the lower court on July 8.

Kejriwal had challenged the July 8 summons by moving a revision plea which was dismissed by the lower court on July 26 which also he has challenged in the high court.

While issuing notice in the main petition, the high court said it prima facie appears that trial would be required to decide if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief’s re-tweet of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s tweet was defamatory.

Kejriwal, represented by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Arunadhri Iyer, has claimed that he has not named Gupta in his tweet or re-tweet.

They also argued that no trial was required to determine if re-tweets would amount to defamation as then anyone and everyone who re-tweets a tweet would be roped in irrespective of their comment in the re-tweet.

Gupta, in his complaint, had accused Kejriwal and Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia of “maligning” his image by allegedly accusing him on Twitter of being part of an alleged “conspiracy” to kill the AAP chief.

The AAP convenor, in his petition filed through Mohd Irsad, has claimed that he had neither mentioned Gupta in his tweet nor made any allegations against him.

His lawyers, however, have admitted that the AAP chief had re-tweeted Sisodia’s tweet but with his own comment in which also Gupta was not mentioned by name.

Kejriwal, in his plea, has also contended that he has neither made any defamatory comment against Gupta nor mentioned his name and therefore, the offence was not made out against him.

After Kejriwal was slapped in May this year during the general election campaign, he had alleged on Twitter that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to get him killed by his own personal security officer (PSO) in the manner in which Indira Gandhi had been assassinated.

In response to his comments, Gupta had said that Kejriwal was slapped because he had relaxed his security cordon.

To this, Sisodia had tweeted that there was a conspiracy to kill Kejriwal and that Gupta was allegedly part of it.

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