29 Aug 2023 10:15 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court today directed the Principal Sessions City Civil Court Ahmedabad to transfer the revision plea filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and AAP Rajyasabha MP Sanjay Singh to a different court and further ordered the Court to decide the matter within 10 days. The reason for such a transfer its that the presiding officer which had been dealing with the revision plea is currently...
The Gujarat High Court today directed the Principal Sessions City Civil Court Ahmedabad to transfer the revision plea filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and AAP Rajyasabha MP Sanjay Singh to a different court and further ordered the Court to decide the matter within 10 days. The reason for such a transfer its that the presiding officer which had been dealing with the revision plea is currently on leave.
Essentially, Kejriwal and Singh have challenged the summons issued to them by a metropolitan court in Ahmedabad in connection with the trial in the criminal defamation case filed against them by the Gujarat University over the alleged remarks made by the duo in connection with the academic degree of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The bench of Justice Sameer Dave passed this order after hearing Senior Counsel Mihir Joshi (for Kejriwal and Singh), Senior Counsel Nirupam Nanavati (Gujarat University) and Public Prosecutor Mitesh Amin.
In its order, the Court also recorded the submission made by the Senior Counsel Nanvati (for Gujarat University) that if Kejriwal and Singh move the trial court seeking adjournment in the case (due to the pendency of the revision plea challenging summoning order), the Complainant would not object to it.
Background of the matter
For context, a metropolitan court in Ahmedabad had earlier summoned the duo (Kejriwal and Singh) for August 11 in the defamation case filed by the Gujarat University over their (Kejriwal & Singh) alleged derogatory statements.
Earlier, on August 5, the City Civil & Sessions Court Ahmedabad rejected their plea to stay the proceedings in the trial pending the disposal of their revision plea.
Challenging this order, both of them had moved the HC, wherein they were denied any interim relief and the matter was posted for hearing today (August 29)
Thereafter, they even failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court and instead, they were asked by the Top Court to raise their grievances before the HC in their pending petition.
The case against Kejriwal and Singh
In the criminal complaint filed by Gujarat University, through its Registrar Dr Piyush M.Patel under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, the alleged statements of Kejriwal and Singh have been referred to, accusing them of making sarcastic and defamatory statements in press conferences and on Twitter handles targeting the university over Modi's degree.
The alleged statement is as follows:
"अगर डिग्री है और वो सही है तो डिग्री दी क्यों नहीं जा रही है...गुजरात और दिल्ली यूनिवर्सिटी डिग्री क्यों नहीं दे रही हैं? डिग्री इसलिए नहीं दे रहे हैं कि डिग्री हो सकता है फर्जी हो, डिग्री नकली हो...अगर प्रधानमंत्री जी दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय से पढे, गुजरात यूनिवर्सिटी से पढे, तो गुजरात यूनिवर्सिटी को सेलीब्रेट करना चाहिए कि हमारा लड़का जो है देश का प्रधानमंत्री बन गया...वो उनकी डिग्री को छुपने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं...(यूनिवर्सिटी) प्रधानमंत्री की फर्जी डिग्री को सही साबित करने में जुट गई [If degree is there and it is correct then why degree is not being given... Why Gujarat and Delhi University are not giving degree? The degree is not being given because the degree may be fake... If the Prime Minister studied from Delhi University, Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that our boy has become the Prime Minister of the country. ...it is trying to hide his degree...[Univerisity] put his all to prove a fake degree (of PM) as right],"
The complaint states that the alleged statement was made right after the Gujarat High Court’s order of quashing and setting aside the 2016 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Gujarat University to provide “information regarding degrees in the name of Mr. Narendra Damodar Modi" to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The Complaint further states that immediately after the Gujarat High Court's order, Kejriwal made defamatory statements against Gujarat University in a press conference despite being aware of the fact that the Prime Minister's degree had been published on the University's website long back.
Importantly, the university has also put up a contention in its complaint that CM Kejriwal made the statements in his “personal capacity” and “not affairs of the State”.
In April this year, the additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jayeshbhai Chovatiya found that prima facie, both Kejriwal and Singh appeared to have targeted the Gujarat University as the words uttered by them were sarcastic and meant to target the Gujarat University's image in the minds of the people.
"It is natural that due to the statements of the accused people who know the credit of Gujarat University and all the people who do not know Gujarat University will develop distrust towards Gujarat University," the Court observed.
The Court also opined that if the political office bearers, instead of fulfilling their duty to their people, do any work directly or indirectly for their personal enmity or selfishness, to harm the opponents or the same person, and if they utter any such words, those words will be considered a violation of the trust placed by the people and the words uttered will be considered personal.
It is in that order that the Court directed their personal presence before the Court by issuing them summons.