SC junks plea by AAP leader against summons on defamation plaint

SC junks plea by AAP leader against summons on defamation plaint

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by Aam Aadmi Party leader Deepak Bajpai against summons issued by a Delhi court on a criminal defamation complaint filed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud saw no merit in the contention by the petitioner that the summons issued by a magistrate were beyond jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for Bajpai, challenged the Delhi High Court's order of October 27, 2017, declining his plea.

The counsel submitted that an enquiry was to be conducted by the magistrate before issuing summons as mandated under Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He also said the petitioner, who retweeted a reportedly defamatory tweet by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, lived in Uttar Pradesh so the summons could not have been issued by the Delhi court.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Jaitley, submitted that the petitioner has earlier accepted the notice without any protest.

He also said the petitioner along with other accused persons were filing petitions after petitions at the drop of a hat.

Kejriwal and other AAP leaders - Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh along with Bajpai - faced a criminal defamation complaint as well as Rs 10 crore civil suit after they claimed that Jaitley was reportedly involved in corrupt practices when he was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.

Jaitley, who denied all the allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, claimed they made "false and defamatory" statements in the case involving the DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.

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