Court summons Kejriwal, Azad in DDCA defamation case

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) A court here on Monday issued summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP parliamentarian Kirti Azad in a defamation complaint filed by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Vice President Chetan Chauhan.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra issued the summons to Kejriwal and Azad, asking them to appear before the court on February 18.

Chetan Chauhan through his advocate Sangram Patnaik has accused them of defaming the cricket association by passing “scandalous” remarks.

“It is prima-facie clear that Kejriwal has made a serious defamatory remark only on the basis of a hearsay information received from his friend,” the court said.

“Such a drastic statement, and that too from the Chief Minister, may have negative impact and leave an adverse impression in the mind of cricketers, officials and public at large, impacting reputation of the DDCA, its organisational functioning and the transparency of the selection process,” the court observed.

The court said that “a person especially holding a constitutional post is reasonably expected to exercise sensitivity and prudence in making discourses and imputations which may have negative impact on the reputation of an institution working in public domain.”

The court noted that Kejriwal’s statement was broadcast by a private news channel and widely published in all national dailies as well as carried on Internet.

The statement reflected a negative shade of the DDCA to a public at large, raising serious concerns about transparency of its selection process and accordingly prima facie the ingredients of defamation are attracted against the accused, the court said.

The court also noted that the statement was endorsed by Azad and harmed the reputation of the DDCA.

Referring to Kejriwal’s interview to a news channel where he said that sexual favours were sought for selecting players, the complainant alleged that “false” charges were being levelled against the state cricket association.

The plea claimed that Kejriwal’s “false” statements were immediately endorsed and repeated by Azad.

“The aforesaid actions of the accused (Kejriwal and Azad) have severely damaged the credibility and reputation of the complainant (DDCA) in the eyes of thousands of cricket lovers, citizens of India as well as internationally,” the complainant has told the court.

The complainant has requested the court to initiate proceedings against the accused.