14 Sep 2023 7:31 AM GMT
A Sessions Court in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad today dismissed a revision application filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajyasabha MP Sanjay Singh challenging the issuance of summons by a Magistrate Court in a defamation complaint filed against themThe case has been filed by the Gujarat University over the alleged remarks made by the duo in connection with the academic...
A Sessions Court in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad today dismissed a revision application filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajyasabha MP Sanjay Singh challenging the issuance of summons by a Magistrate Court in a defamation complaint filed against them
The case has been filed by the Gujarat University over the alleged remarks made by the duo in connection with the academic degree of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After hearing the arguments of all the parties, Judge JM Brahmbhatt reserved the order in the matter last week.
Before the Court, Advocate Aum Kotwal for Kejriwal and Advocate Farrukh Khan for Singh argued that the Trial Court's summoning order was wrong and that the Gujarat University could not have filed a defamation case in this matter as it is not the aggrieved person.
It was also their common ground that the statement in question doesn't amount to defamation.
Background of the matter
A metropolitan court in Ahmedabad had earlier summoned the duo (Kejriwal and Singh) to face trial in the defamation case filed by the Gujarat University over their (Kejriwal & Singh) alleged derogatory statements
Thereafter, they moved the City Civil & Sessions Court Ahmedabad to stay the trial in the case pending the disposal of their revision plea. This plea was rejected last month.
Challenging this order, Kejriwal and Singh moved the HC, wherein they were denied any interim relief. 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.
On August 29, the Gujarat HC Court directed the Principal Sessions City Civil Court Ahmedabad to transfer the revision plea to a different court and further ordered the Court to decide the matter within 10 days.
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.
Notably, the university has also contended 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.