New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today withdrew from Delhi High Court his case filed against a trial court decision sending him to jail in a defamation complaint by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ashutosh Kumar allowed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Kejriwal to withdraw the case after his counsel pleaded that he does not want to pursue the matter anymore.
“The request (to withdraw the petition) is allowed,” the bench said.
Kejriwal's counsel Rishikesh Kumar made the submission before the bench in the backdrop of the court's earlier query whether Kejriwal was still interested in pursuing his case.
“I want to withdraw the present petition,” Kejriwal's counsel told the court.
Advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, agreed with Kejriwal's counsel's submission and said he has no objection on the request.
During the last hearing on April 27, Kejriwal had told the high court that he was undecided about pursuing his case and had sought time to decide on the issue.
On April 17, the Supreme Court had stayed Kejriwal's prosecution in two criminal defamation cases, including the one filed by Gadkari, and also sought a reply from the Centre on the CM's plea challenging constitutional validity of the penal provisions.
The high court had on February 23 asked Kejriwal, “Are you still interested in pursuing the case? We think, now there is nothing left in it.”
The bench had further said the petition was “infructuous” while noting that Kejriwal has already furnished his bail bond in the case.
The court's observations had come during the hearing of Kejriwal's plea whether it is correct to seek bail bonds and sureties from people who are summoned by courts on complaints filed in cases like that of criminal defamation.
Kejriwal had challenged May 21 and 23 last year orders of a magisterial court remanding him in judicial custody for not furnishing a bail bond in the criminal defamation complaint filed by Gadkari, saying it was not mandatory and he should have been allowed to give a written undertaking instead.
On July 31 last year, the high court had suggested to Gadkari and Kejriwal to “bury” the hatchet over the alleged statement made by the AAP leader and “shake hands” with each other in larger “public interest”.
On January 30, 2014, the chief minister had allegedly made a defamatory statement against Gadkari in media.
Kejriwal had refused to furnish personal bail bond on the issue saying common people should not be harassed on technical grounds in courts of law in petty cases.
In his plea, Kejriwal said the magisterial order sending him to judicial custody was “illegal” as it was based on a “completely wrong premise of law”.
He had, subsequently, moved the high court against the magisterial order. However, on the high court's suggestion he had sought bail from the lower court.
The lower court has put Kejriwal on trial on charges of defamation.
The court had framed the charge after Kejriwal refused to heed to the magistrate's suggestion to amicably resolve the case filed against him by Gadkari, even after the Union minister indicated that if the AAP leader was ready to withdraw his alleged defamatory statement he would drop his complaint.