In a major setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court today dismissed his plea seeking stay on a court trial in a defamation case against him and other AAP leaders filed by finance minister Arun Jaitley saying, “it is devoid of merit”.
“The request of the petitioner to adjourn the court proceedings before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) is rejected, being devoid of merit and the same is culminated into dismissal of the present petition,” Justice P S Teji said.
“Nothing have been brought before this court to the effect that continuation of criminal proceedings is abuse of the process of law before the CMM and any order is required by this court to secure the ends of justice.
“Thus, this court is of the view that the order of the CMM, dated May 19, 2016 continuing with the proceedings is free from perversity, impropriety, illegality and non- sustainability which compelled this court to exercise the inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr PC,” the court said.
The High Court also held that there is no illegality or unsustainability in the law in continuation of the criminal proceedings before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and it is empowered to continue with the same.
The court had reserved its verdict on July 25 on Kejriwal’s plea challenging the trial court’s May 19 order by which it had turned down the Delhi chief minister’s request to adjourn hearing on a criminal defamation case before it, till the High Court decides a related civil suit.
In his plea, Kejriwal contended that there are two cases--one civil and the other criminal--filed against AAP leaders on the same allegations and the trial court should have stayed the proceedings in the matter, but it had declined.
Jaitley had filed a criminal defamation complaint alleging Kejriwal and five AAP leaders--Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai--had defamed him in the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy.
On April 7, the trial court had granted bail to Kejriwal and others in the case after they had appeared before it.
Jaitley had on December 21, 2015, filed the criminal defamation case against the AAP leaders and sought their prosecution for offences that entail a punishment of up to two years in jail.
Besides the criminal defamation case, Jaitley has also filed a civil defamation suit in the High Court seeking Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in DDCA when he was its president.