Gujarat Court junks Kejriwal’s plea against prosecution in defamation case filed by Gujarat University

Gujarat Court junks Kejriwal’s plea against prosecution in defamation case filed by Gujarat University
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Gujarat Court junks Kejriwal’s plea against prosecution in defamation case filed by Gujarat University

On Friday (15th December), a metropolitan court in Gujarat rejected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea opposing criminal prosecution in the defamation complaint filed by Gujarat University. The metropolitan court observed that there is no need for prior approval for his trial in this case, as the remarks made by the politician do not seem to have been made as part of the discharge of official duty.

Notably, AAP National Convener Arvind Kejriwal and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh are facing trial in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed by the registrar of Gujarat University Piyush Patel. The complaint pertains to their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements made in connection with PM Modi’s educational degree.

Citing provisions of Section 197 of the CrPC, Kejriwal had sought protection asserting that a sanction was required to initiate a trial against him because he is a public servant.

However, the court of additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SJ Panchal rejected his plea, noting that no such sanction was required. The matter will now be heard on the next date set on 28th December.

Earlier on 13th December, the AAP Supremo had filed an application before Panchal’s court. In his plea, the AAP leader challenged his prosecution in the matter as he is a public servant. 

His advocates had argued that since there was no permission from the proper authority to start a criminal case against him, the trial was not valid. They claimed that the comments were made as part of a public servant’s duty to ask questions.

Gujarat University’s counsel Amit Nair opposed the application and asserted that Kejriwal made defamatory statements about the university and tarnished the image of the institution. He submitted that utterance of defamatory words does not fall under the category of discharge on official function and hence, such a sanction was not required in the present case. 

Additionally, on 13th December, magistrate Panchal had also rejected Kejriwal and co-accused Sanjay Singh’s applications that sought adjournment of proceedings in the defamation case. 

The court observed that prima facie there appeared to be a case against them under section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and had summoned the duo. 

The case against the AAP leaders was filed by GU registrar Piyush Patel following their comments, which came in response to the Gujarat High Court overturning the Chief Information Commissioner’s order regarding the PM’s degree.

The complainant asserted that the AAP leaders made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on their Twitter(now X), handles targeting the university over Modi’s degree. He said that their comments targeting Gujarat University were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the educational institution which has established its name among members of the public. 

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