An Ahmedabad court has issued summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh in a criminal defamation case related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s academic degree.
Gujarat University registrar Piyush Patel lodged a complaint against the AAP leaders for their alleged sarcastic and derogatory statements against the varsity. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jayeshbhai Chovatiya on Saturday (April 15) summoned the duo on May 23 after observing that prima facie there appeared to be a case against them under IPC Section 500 (defamation).
The court has ordered that “Chief Minister” be deleted from Kejriwal’s name in the cause title of the case, saying he made the statements in his personal capacity.
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“Hurt institution’s prestige”
Kejriwal and Singh made the comments after the Gujarat High Court passed an order setting aside the Chief Information Commissioner’s order asking the Gujarat University to provide information on PM Modi’s degree. The complainant says they made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on Twitter handles targeting the university over Modi’s degree.
Their comments targeting the Gujarat University were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the institution, which has established its name among the public, the registrar said.
Gujarat University was established more than 70 years ago. It is a reputable institution and the utterances by the accused will create mistrust about the university, the complainant’s lawyer Amit Nair argued.
The complainant alleged that the statements were defamatory towards the university because they were sarcastic and intended to intentionally hurt its prestige. They were shared in the media and on Twitter handles with the same intention, he said.
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Four witnesses examined
The comments quoted by the complainant and attributed to Kejriwal are: “If there is a degree and it is genuine, then why is it not being given?” (a copy of it to Kejriwal under RTI), “They are not giving the degree because it might be fake,” and “If the Prime Minister studied at Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that our student became the country’s PM.”
According to the complainant, Sanjay Singh had said, “They are trying to prove the PM’s fake degree as genuine.”
Four witnesses were examined and other evidence submitted during the court inquiry, and the complainant’s lawyer argued their statements would make a person believe that Gujarat University issues fake and bogus degrees.
(With agency inputs)