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.

Delhi High Court seeks Centre’s response on plea against AAP legislator Kailash Gahlot.

The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the Centre on a plea by BJP MLAs seeking to remove AAP legislator Kailash Gahlot, who was disqualified for holding office of profit, as the city’s transport minister.

Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the office of the Delhi Assembly Speaker and Gahlot, seeking their response on his continuation as a minster and attending ongoing House proceedings.

The court, however, refrained from restraining the disqualified transport minister from attending the assembly.

“Prima facie, I am inclined to restrain minister from attending the house proceedings, but I am not doing so. I need to get your (Centre, Speaker’s office and Gahlot) response before passing any order,” the judge said.

It directed them to file their response in 10 days and fixed the matter for further hearing on April 6.

Senior counsel Sanjay Jain and advocates Balendu Shekhar and Neeraj Kumar, appearing for the three BJP MLAs–Vijender Gupta, O P Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan– sought a direction for appropriate steps to remove Gahlot as minister of Delhi.

Senior advocate Rajiv Nair, appearing for Gahlot, opposed the plea of the BJP MLAs. He said they yesterday withdrew their plea from a bench which was scheduled to hear the case and are engaged in bench hunting.

The budget session of the Delhi Assembly started on March 16 and will continue till March 28.

The Election Commission had recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit on January 19. The president had accepted the poll panel’s opinion the very next day.

The MLAs have challenged their disqualification order in the high court, which is yet to pronounce the judgment.