The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has dismissed an appeal filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Raghav Chadha against Delhi High Court Judgment dismissing his petition challenging the summons issued to him in a defamation case filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley while leaving it to the trial court to decide if re-tweeting would attract liability under section 499 IPC
Chadha’s counsel Anand Grover argued that re-tweeting of the CM’s tweet could not amount to defamation. The case should be filed under the Information and Technology (IT) Act, but his client is facing trial under the IPC.
“The content of the tweet is not of mine. The content was tweeted by somebody else. Can re-tweet of the same content be treated as defamation? This question of law needs court’s consideration,” Grover submitted.
He cited the Supreme Court’s 2015 judgment in Shreya Singhal case.The apex court had struck down Section 66 A of the Act saying it “draconian”. The Section had allowed arrest of a person for uploading objectionable content online.
To his argument, the bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, asked: “Can a person be oblivious of the content of the tweet and what would be the impact on the reputation of a person?”
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Jaitley, argued that “it is completely misconceived. Defamation case has to be filed under THE IPC. If there is no provision under the IT Act, it does not mean a person can go on defaming somebody”.
After heated arguments, the bench concluded: “Heard counsel for parties and dismissed.”
In the defamation case, besides Kejriwal and Chadha, four other accused are AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.
They had accused Arun Jaitley of corruption as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he held from 2000 to 2013.