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Supreme Court Declines Stay on Defamation Trial as Gujarat University Pursues Case Against Delhi CM Kejriwal

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      26 August, 2023 06:47 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Declines Stay on Defamation Trial as Gujarat University Pursues Case Against Delhi CM Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the trial in a criminal defamation case filed by the Gujarat University against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over comments in connection with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V N Bhatti said the court is not inclined to issue notice at this stage as the matter is pending before the Gujarat High Court and listed on August 29.

The bench also pointed out that Kejriwal's plea to stay the trial is pending in the high court.

"We trust and hope that the matter is decided on the said date. We must record that a number of pleas have been raised by the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on behalf of Gujarat University, they can be raised before the high court,” the bench said.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, asked the court to see the summoning order, which had been issued wrongly. Singhvi said the sessions court issued notice and it rejected his client's plea for interim stay and against that, he moved the high court, while the trial court was going at breakneck speed .

The bench asked him about the stage of proceedings.

On this, Singhvi said the trial court will finish the matter by September 16.

Singhvi said petitions are pending before sessions court and the high court.

Mehta said they said let him appear through advocates and it was rejected, then they abused the trial court.

He asked as a litigant if it was not the petitioner's duty not to suppress this.

Earlier this week, the Ahmedabad sessions court rejected a plea by Kejriwal and MP Sanjay Singh, seeking an expedited hearing of their revision petition, aiming for it to take place before August 29, a date determined by the Gujarat High Court in response to Kejriwal and Singh’s request for a stay of trial.

This request was made after the Gujarat High Court dismissed their application for interim relief on August 11, though the court issued a notice regarding their plea for speedy hearing. Kejriwal approached the Supreme Court against the order of rejection of stay by Gujarat High Court.

The Gujarat University has filed a criminal defamation case against AAP leaders’ “sarcastic and derogatory” statements against it with regard to Modi’s degree. The varsity has claimed that Kejriwal and Singh’s alleged derogatory statements in the press “tarnished its goodwill image.”

The court complaint mentions the two AAP leaders saying in the press conference held in Delhi on April 1 and 2, “A few degrees here and there....if the degree is there and it is genuine, then why is the degree not being given? Why Gujarat University and Delhi University are not providing the degrees? Why are you not giving information? The degree is not being given because the degree may be fake. If the Prime Minister studied at Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate the fact that he is our boy who became the Prime Minister of the country. But the varsity is trying to hide the degree.”

Modi is reported to have obtained his graduation degree from GU.

The defamation case was filed by GU through its registrar Piyush Patel on April 12.

The court had ordered an inquiry into the complaint under section 202 of the Code of criminal procedure (CrPC).

Earlier, on March 31, Gujarat High Court had quashed the Chief Information Commission’s 2016 order directing the varsity to provide the post-graduate degree of Modi under the Right to Information Act to Kejriwal. The court not only quashed Kejriwal’s plea seeking Modi’s degree, but it also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Kejriwal.

The HC had held that the CIC had transgressed jurisdiction and embarked into an arena of political thicket,' by directing the Gujarat University to disclose the degree of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in "a fishing and roving inquiry" at the oral request of Delhi CM Kejriwal for "extraneous considerations".

The court had also pointed out Kejriwal persisted with the matter before it despite the degree in question being put on the website of the petitioner University for all to see.



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