HC verdict on Thursday on pleas by Tiwari and Gupta against summons in defamation case

The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its decision on the pleas of BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and BJP MLA Vijender Gupta seeking quashing of the summons issued against them in a defamation complaint filed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Justice Anu Malhotra had reserved her verdict in the matter on December 7 after hearing arguments on behalf of the two BJP leaders, Sisodia and the prosecution.

The AAP leader has filed a defamation complaint against the two BJP leaders and others for allegedly levelling corruption charges against him.

Tiwaris counsel had argued before the high court that the summoning order of the trial court was based on legally inadmissible evidence so it was illegal.

Guptas lawyers also sought quashing of the summons on similar grounds.

Their pleas were opposed by the prosecution which contended before the high court that neither of the two BJP leaders have claimed that what they said was not defamatory.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Sisodia, had argued that the case was not at a stage to see original documents and it has to be seen at the time of trial.

He further told the high court that the original witnesses would come at the time of trial and pre-summoning is not a stage to see original documents and the editors of the media houses will be coming as witnesses at the time of the trial.

Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, representing the State, had sought dismissal of the two petitions and said the two BJP leaders cannot keep on saying anything against an honest person and malign him because they have the backing of the union government.

What prevented them from going to the Delhi Police or CBI with their claim of corruption. What they did is to malign the individual. They did not go to police agencies because they know they have nothing in their hand, its a white lie which they are saying, he argued during the hearing.

Both the BJP leaders have challenged the trial courts November 28, 2019 order summoning them and others as accused in the criminal defamation case filed by Sisodia.

Sisodia has filed the complaint against BJP leaders — Members of Parliament Manoj Tiwari, Hans Raj Hans and Pravesh Verma, MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Vijender Gupta and BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana — for allegedly making corruption charges against him in relation to Delhi government schools classrooms.

The accused were earlier granted bail after they appeared before the trial court.

The AAP leader had filed the complaint under section 200 of CrPC for commission of offences under Section 499 and 500 read with Sections 34 and 35 of the IPC for making false and defamatory statements in print, electronic and social media.

Sisodia had stated that all the allegations made by the BJP leaders jointly and individually were false, defamatory and derogatory with an intention to harm and damage his reputation and goodwill.

If convicted, the offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)