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Supreme Court To Hear On 25th Aug BJP MP Manoj Tiwari's Plea Against Delhi High Court's Refusal To Quash Summon Issued In Defamation Case Filed By Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia

Srishti Ojha
28 July 2021 1:07 PM GMT
Supreme Court To Hear On 25th Aug BJP MP Manoj Tiwaris Plea Against Delhi High Courts Refusal To Quash Summon Issued In Defamation Case Filed By Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia
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Supreme Court has on Friday decided to hear on August 25th BJP MP Manoj Tiwari's plea challenging the judgment of the Delhi High Court which refused to quash the summoning order issued by the Magistrate in defamation case filed by Manish Sisodia, Delhi's Deputy CMA bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V Ramasubramanian observed that the matter should be heard on...

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Supreme Court has on Friday decided to hear on August 25th BJP MP Manoj Tiwari's plea challenging the judgment of the Delhi High Court which refused to quash the summoning order issued by the Magistrate in defamation case filed by Manish Sisodia, Delhi's Deputy CM

A bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V Ramasubramanian observed that the matter should be heard on a non-miscellaneous day.

Supreme Court had in January stayed the proceedings in the criminal defamation case against Tiwari. An application for vacation of stay has also been filed before the Top Court

During the hearing, Sr Adv R Venkatramani appearing for Tiwari submitted that "There's an application for vacation of stay by respondent. This plea has been filed for court to consider a question of law and look at response of Respondents."

"Its better if its taken on Non miscellaneous day" Justice Ramasubramanian suggested.

While requesting the Court to list the matter soon, Sr Adv Singhvi appearing for Mr Manish Sisodia submitted that "it's a very short issue. He has a stay and its directly contrary to subsection 6 of Section 199."

" What you are saying is wrong!" Senior Counsel Venkatramani objected.

The defamation case was filed by Sisodia in 2019 against BJP leaders — Members of Parliament Manoj Tiwari, Hans Raj Hans and Pravesh Verma, MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Vijender Gupta, and Spokesperson Harish Khurana — for allegedly making defamatory statements about his involvement in corruption of nearly Rs 2,000 crore in the building of classrooms in Delhi's government schools.

On November 28, 2019, the Additional City Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue Courts, New Delhi, issued summons to Tiwari and other accused on the criminal complaint.

Though Tiwari approached the Delhi High Court challenging the summons, a single bench of Justice Anu Malhotra rejected his plea on December 17, 2020. The High Court expressed the prima facie view that the statements and imputations harmed the reputation of the Minister and that the defence of Tiwari can be considered only at the trial stage.

In the SLP filed before the Supreme Court, it is argued that the Magistrate ignored Section 199(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure while taking cognizance of the complaint

As per Section 199(2) CrPC, a defamation complaint in respect of statements against a Minister can be taken cognizance of only by a Court of Sessions, that too on a complaint made by the Public Prosecutor.

However, the complaint was filed by Sisodia invoking Section 199(6) CrPC, which says that the section does not affect the right of a person, against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed, to make a complaint before the jurisdictional magistrate.

It is argued that recourse under Section 199(6) cannot be taken directly by a public servant without following the scheme of state sanction under Section 199(2). Therefore, the summoning order was issued without jurisdiction.

It is further argued that the Magistrate took cognizance of the complaint which was filed on the basis of inadmissible electronic evidence in the form of CDs, which were not certified as per Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act.

Tiwari further contended the allegations against Sisodia were substantiated by various public documents received through RTI replies. Therefore, such statements are covered by the good faith and fair comments exceptions regarding the conduct of a public servant as per Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.

It is argued that the Magistrate erred in taking cognizance of the complaint on the basis of inadmissible evidence and that the High Court also erred in not interfering with the summoning order.

"..the High Court miserably erred in dismissing the aforesaid Petition filed by the Petitioner, while holding that the legally inadmissible evidence produced before the Ld. Trial Court Including unverified CDs, Pendrives, Printouts, Newspaper Reports/ Articles and printout of tweets fall within the ambit admissible evidence in terms of Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

In addition thereto, the Hon'ble High Court miserably erred in holding that the statements made by the Petitioner during the Press Conference on 01.07.2019 and the tweets made thereafter, would harm the reputation of the Complainant, however, whether the same were for the purpose of any public good, are aspects which can only be determined through the defence of the Petitioner and as to whether the acts of the Petitioner would fall within any of the exceptions to Section 499 of the IPC can only be determined on trial", the petition said.


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