“The route taken may not be the correct route in law. We have corrected the route but we reach the same destination" , said the Division Bench
A Division Bench of Delhi High Court has dismissed an Appeal filed by Aam Admi Party leader Ashustosh against single Judge Order rejecting the objections raised by the AAP leaders, that the several pleadings made by the Arun Jaitely in his respective replication to the individual written statement of the applicant/ defendant be struck of, on the ground that merely because the plaintiff in his replications which are contained in documents filed along with the plaint, in his replications, it does not tantamount to his raising a fresh plea which could be introduced only by way of amendment of the plaint.
Jaitely has filed the Defamation suit claiming Rs. 10 crore as damages from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for making defamatory statements in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) during tenure as its president.
Ashuthosh has filed an Application in the Suit under Order 6 Rule 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure pleading that the statements referred to in the replication attributed to the defendant No.2, which were not specifically mentioned in the plaint should be struck off by striking of the pleadings in the preliminary submissions in the replication. But the Single Judge dismissed the Application.
The Division Bench comprising of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Sharma has set aside the position of law enunciated by the learned Single Judge in para 31 of the impugned order, but refused to interfere with the Order .
“Concerning the second aspect of the matter, the legal position culled out by the learned Single Judge in paragraph 31 of the impugned order is patently incorrect for the reason the plaintiff must set forth the exact words (spoken or written) which the plaintiff alleges to be defamatory, for the reason the defendant must know exactly what to defend. It is not the law that a plaint simply avers that the defendant has been making defamatory statements and proof thereof is the documents filed with the plaint. Sentences spoken or written may consist of different facts and perhaps intertwined, may be the opinion of the maker. The plaintiff must dissect the sentences spoken or written and plead with precision what the plaintiff makes actionable”
But the bench has made it clear that that would make no difference to the pleadings in the replication for the following reason
“we find that the actionable defamatory statements attributed to the appellant have been succinctly pleaded in the plaint, and in the replication with reference to the documents filed along with the plaint and reference made in the pleadings in the plaint, it would be a case of repeat of the same statements albeit with a word here or there being different in the replication. It would be a case of a re-publication of a defamatory statement, where in the plaint the defamatory statement first made is reproduced with the date given when it was further made with pleadings that the defamatory statements were repeated on different dates and documents filed with reference to the said subsequent dates, and in the replication a reference being made to the words re-published by reproducing the same”
The Court held that the conclusion arrived at by the learned Single Judge that no part of the replication needs to be struck off is thus correct.
“The route taken may not be the correct route in law. We have corrected the route but we reach the same destination”.
Read the order here.