SC declines to put on hold defamation case against Kejriwal

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) In a setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition to put on hold the criminal proceedings against him initiated by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Earlier reports said Kejriwal in his petition to the apex court had sought that the proceedings in a criminal defamation case against him be quashed.

Kejriwal in his plea contended that Jaitley has also filed a civil suit in the Delhi High Court, and so the criminal proceedings in the case be put on hold.

Dismissing the plea, the bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit asked senior counsel Ram Jethmalani to show a law under which criminal and civil proceedings cannot go together.

As it was contended that the outcome of civil proceedings before the High Court would have a bearing on the criminal defamation proceedings before the subordinate court, the bench asked if there is a provision in the Evidence Act that says the High Court judgment in a civil case will be binding on the criminal defamation case.

As court dismissed the plea of the Delhi Chief Minister, Jethmalani appearing for Kejriwal told the court that the court must protect a poor Chief Minister of a state.

On Jethmalani’s plea to protect the “poor Chief Minister”, the bench observed: “We are here to decide according to the records of the case.”

Kejriwal moved the apex court challenging the October 19 Delhi High Court order which turned down his plea to put on hold the proceedings in the criminal defamation case.

The magisterial court had on May 19 rejected Kejriwal’s plea to suspend the proceedings in the criminal defamation case during the pendency of the civil suit before the Delhi High Court.

The criminal and civil defamation proceedings were initiated by Jaitley against Kejriwal following allegations of wrongdoing in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when the Finance Minister was at the helm of the state cricketing body.

Jaitley filed a civil defamation case against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders, seeking Rs 10 crore in damages following the AAP leaders’ statements on alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA.