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Delhi Court Rejects Zee Media's Plea Against Non-Summoning of Mahua Moitra in Criminal Defamation Case As Time Barred [READ ORDER]

Zee Media Mahua Moitra Criminal Defamation
A Sessions Court in Delhi today (December 3, 2020) dismissed Zee Media's plea challenging a Magistrate's order dated September 25, 2019, refusing to summon MP Mahua Moitra in a criminal defamation case, as time barred. The Additional Sessions Judge at the Rouse Avenue Court, Geetanjali Goel refused to allow the channel's application for coronation of delay of 81 days in filing the review petition.


The Judge said, "It is no doubt the settled law that the words "sufficient cause" in Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 should be given a liberal interpretation and the court should seek to do substantial justice but the law is also that the party has to show sufficient cause for delay to be condoned and the words contained in the statute cannot be given a go by and where the petitioner fails to show any sufficient cause for delay in filing the revision petition, the Court cannot only on the basis of a precocious plea of not being aware of the order of the Court which is also not substantiated and is rather contrary to the record, allow an application for condonation of delay."

The channel had filed a criminal defamation against the AITC leader for referring to it as uneducated and budbak . The channel claimed that whereas the company had only read the short order that she had been summoned, it obtained the detailed summoning order only during the COVID-19 period and after going through the same, found out that the Court had not summoned her. 

Accordingly, the Company's authorized representative filed the present revision petition with a 'bonafide' delay of 81 days. The application was opposed by Moitra who argued that there was inordinate and willful delay on the part of the Petitioner who had actively participated in the proceedings before the Trial Court after passing of the impugned order. 

She submitted that the application for condonation of delay is without merits as the delay of 81 days in filing the petition was wholly unexplained, and even otherwise it would appear that the delay in filing the petition was in fact more than 200 days. 

She further averred that the revision petition was an after-thought in as much as the same had been filed only after she preferred a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, challenging the summoning order before the Delhi High Court. The Court opined that the reasons for delay in the Company's application were entirely bereft of any particulars. It is not stated when the Authorized Representative obtained the detailed summoning order and found out that the Court had not summoned the accused/ respondent.




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