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MJ Akbar v. Priya Ramani: Delhi Court Notes That SC Directions Refer To Expediting All Cases Involving MPs/MLAs [Read Order]

Karan Tripathi
26 Oct 2020 7:26 AM GMT
MJ Akbar v. Priya Ramani: Delhi Court Notes That SC Directions Refer To Expediting All Cases Involving MPs/MLAs [Read Order]
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While refusing to transfer MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani to any other court, the Delhi Court has noted that the Supreme Court's directions in Ashwini Upadhyay case refer to expediting all cases involving legislators, and not just cases filed against them. District & Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli noted that the word 'involving' in Supreme Court's...

While refusing to transfer MJ Akbar's criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani to any other court, the Delhi Court has noted that the Supreme Court's directions in Ashwini Upadhyay case refer to expediting all cases involving legislators, and not just cases filed against them.

District & Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli noted that the word 'involving' in Supreme Court's directions shall be interpreted to include not just cases which are filed against legislators, but all cases which involve MPs/ MLAs.

The court was addressing a matter concerning the transferring of MJ Akbar's defamation case against Priya Ramani to some other court at the tail end of the proceedings.

The matter came before the said court after the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, who has been hearing this case for past 2 years, informed both the parties that it cannot continue to hear this matter anymore.

ACMM Vishal Pahuja cited apex court's directions in the matter of Ashwini Upadhyay v. Union of India to note that the Rouse Avenue court, which is a special court for MP/MLA cases, can only hear matters which are filed against the legislators and not by the legislators.

Opposing the transfer of the defamation proceedings to a different court, Senior Advocate and Akbar's counsel Ms Geeta Luthra argued that going by the underlying object of the said order of the Supreme Court, i.e. to clear the names of the MP/MLAs involved in any criminal cases or in any accusations of moral turpitude, the said case also deserves a priority to be tried by this Special Court.

Ms Luthra further argued that neither the Supreme Court's directions nor the notification of the Delhi High Court no other matters can be assigned to the MP/MLA courts and they cannot try any other case.

While considering all the facts, the court noticed that there's a minor difference between the Supreme Court's directions in the Ashwini Upadhyay case and the Delhi High Court's notification dated 23/02/18. While the former uses the word 'involving', the latter says that only the cases filed 'against' the legislators can be entertained.

The court took recourse to purposive rule of interpreting statutes to hold that:

'Applying the settled legal principles above discussed in detail, to the order of Hon'ble Supreme Court in 'Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay v. UOI and Anr.' case, it is very clear that the underlying object appears to be that the names of

the MP/MLAs involved in any criminal cases should be cleared away fast and the decisions should be rendered expeditiously, either way, so as to remove the blot/shadow against the name and reputation of an MP/MLA while he sits

in Parliament/Assembly, if it is clearable. In case, he is found guilty, then also the decision should be expeditious, so that he should not be occupying a seat in the parliament or assembly.'

In light of this observation, the court remanded the case back to ACMM Vishal Pahuja for concluding the remaining proceedings.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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