Defamation case against Kejriwal: SC to hear plea on July 7

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear next week a plea of former Union minister Kapil Sibal's son Amit Sibal against a Delhi High Court order granting exemption from personal appearance to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others in a defamation case.

The Delhi High Court in its judgement had asked the trial court to consider the pleas of Kejriwal and others including deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Shazia Ilmi and advocate Prashant Bhishan seeking discharge from the defamation case.

Sibal, who has challenged the High Court verdict before the apex court, on Friday vehemently opposed the submission that there was a stay on the trial court proceedings in the case and it be allowed to continue.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana said that at present, it would not go into question as to whether there was a stay in the case or not, and posted the matter for hearing on July seven.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Sibal, refuted the submission of senior advocate Jayant Bhushan that the recent apex court judgement, upholding the constitutional validity of 156-year-old penal laws on defamation had stayed the trial court proceedings for eight weeks in this case also.

The stay of proceedings was granted by the apex court for allowing the accused to approach the High Court for quashing of defamation case, but in the present matter the High Court has already decided the petitions of Kejriwal and others, Luthra said.

Earlier, the apex court had issued notices to Kejriwal and others on the plea of Sibal.

The High Court had on January 16, 2014 refused to quash defamation proceedings against the AAP leaders and others but had told trial court to consider their discharge plea.

Challenging the order, Amit Sibal said the High Court cannot confer the power to discharge on a Magistrate in a triable case instituted on a private complaint.

Sibal had filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal and others for alleging that he had taken advantage of his father's position to represent telecom companies and the trial court had issued summons to them on July 24, 2013.

The AAP leaders had moved the High Court seeking quashing of proceedings in the trial court.

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