Refusing to stay proceedings in a defamation complaint filed by Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, a Delhi court on Tuesday allowed the CM to appear before a metropolitan magistrate through video conference on August 7.
On July 6, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Court had found ‘sufficient grounds’ to summon Gehlot on August 7 under section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint filed by Shekhawat.
Gehlot had then filed a revision petition. “The court declined to give any relief to Ashok Gehlot ji and said that he is at liberty to appear through videoconferencing but he will have to face trial,” said Shekhawat’s lawyer Aditya Vikram Singh.
The matter was heard Tuesday by Special Judge M K Nagpal, who said, “Though physical and personal appearance of the petitioner as an accused before the ACMM in the above said case on August 7, 2023 may not be practically convenient and necessary, but this court sees no reason or ground for staying the proceedings of above complaint case or as to why appearance cannot be filed by petitioner in the said court through Video Conferencing (VC) mode.”
Gehlot’s lawyers, including Dayan Krishnan, Mohit Mathur and G S Bapna said that since Gehlot is a serving CM “and has multifarious official duties to perform, it will not be in public interest to require his presence before this court, when he is residing beyond the territorial jurisdiction of this court.”Also Read | Delhi court summons Ashok Gehlot in defamation case by Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
They had also submitted that he “shall suffer irreparable loss and injury if the above interim relief of stay of proceedings is not granted to him and further that his appearance before the ACMM will also cause irreparable injury and incalculable harm to his reputation and goodwill.”
The matter has now been listed for further hearing on Gehlot’s application against the proceedings on August 19.Advertisement
Shekhawat had filed a defamation case against Gehlot for allegedly making defamatory statements against him in connection with the Sanjeevani Credit Cooperative Society Ponzi scam. The scam concerns about 2.14 lakh investors of the cooperative society who were defrauded and the directors/office bearers ran away with crores of investments – approximately Rs 900 crore.
While summoning Gehlot, the ACMM’s July 6 order had read, “From evidence placed on record, it prima facie appears that the accused has made specific defamatory statements…against the complainant. Further, it prima facie appears that the aforesaid defamatory statements of the accused have been sufficiently published in the newspaper/electronic media/social media, which may make right-thinking members of society shun the complainant.”Most Read 1 Gadar 2 box office collection day 4: Sunny Deol film records biggest Monday collections of all time, nets a total of Rs 173 cr 2 Bigg Boss OTT 2 Finale Live Updates: Elvish Yadav wins Salman Khan’s show, Abhishek Malhan shares message from hospital 3 Happy Independence Day 2023: Wishes Images, Whatsapp Messages, Status, Quotes, and Photos 4 OMG 2 box office collection day 4: Pankaj Tripathi-Akshay Kumar film delivers better Monday than opening Friday, earns Rs 55.1 cr 5 Jailer box office collection Day 5: Rajinikanth film set to cross Rs 350-crore mark worldwide on Independence Day Also Read | Delhi court asks cops to probe defamation charge against Gehlot
“It appears that the accused by his spoken words and by words which were intended to be read, have made defamatory imputations against the complainant, knowing and intending to harm the reputation of the complainant,” it had said.Advertisement
In March, the court had ordered police to investigate Shekhawat’s defamation complaint. A Joint Commissioner-rank officer was asked to monitor the probe and answer whether Shekhawat was addressed as ‘an accused’; whether the complainant had said that the allegations against the accused “stand proven”; and “whether the complainant and his family members were arrayed as an accused in the investigation”.Also ReadNarendra Modi Independence Day Speech Live Updates: India now identified ...Govt SOP for Judges: Do not name officials for court panelsShivaji statue vandalised in Goa, police initiate inquiry‘Will return to Red Fort next year’: In Independence Day speech, PM Modi ...
While the first two questions were answered in the affirmative, the last question was answered in the negative, as per the court.© The Indian Express (P) Ltd