By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
Getting summons in a defamation is nothing new for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is now into his sixth such case, after a local court summoned him in a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janta Party leader Arun Jaitley.
Several defamation cases have been filed against Kejriwal by political leaders and advocates between 2013 and 2016.
A Patiala House court issued summons against Kejriwal on March 9 for allegedly uttering defamatory statements against Jaitley in relation to the controversy surrounding the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
Apart from this, Kejriwal has three other cases pending in the Patiala House courts while two are pending in the Karkardooma district courts.
The first defamation case was filed against Kejriwal by then political secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Pawan Khera, for his alleged “derogatory remarks” against power tariff hike during protests in October 2012. A court in Karkardooma complex issued summons to Kejriwal in Jaury 2013.
The second case was filed by former communications minister Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal. The defamation case was filed after Kejriwal, during a press conference in 2013, alleged conflict of interest over Amit Sibal appearing in the Supreme Court for telecom major Vodafone while his father was the union communications minister. A metropolitan magistrate in Patiala house courts complex issued summons to the Aam Aadmi Party leader in July 2013.
The third case was filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, now a union minister, who alleged that Kejriwal had defamed him by including his me in the list of “India’s most corrupt” during a press conference in January 2014. In February 2014, a court had summoned Kejriwal as an accused.
Kejriwal appeared in the case on May 21, 2014, but refused to furnish a persol bond and thereafter was sent to jail. After a week, he furnished his persol bond and was released.
In all the three cases where the court has framed charges, Kejriwal pleaded not guilty.
The fourth defamation case was filed by a lawyer Surender Kumar Sharma against Kejriwal and his colleague Manish Sisodia in 2013. Sharma accused the two AAP leaders of approving his me as party candidate and later defaming him and also denying him the ticket.
The Supreme Court had stayed proceedings in all these four cases after Kejriwal filed a plea challenging the constitutiol validity of “crimil defamation” in April last year.
The fifth case was filed by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri alleging that Kejriwal had made baseless allegations against him. A Patiala House court last month issued summons to Kejriwal asking him to appear in court on May 5, 2016.
Apart from these six cases in which Kejriwal has been summoned by the trial courts, there are three more applications that have alleged defamation and have sought his summoning. These three applications are in “pre-summoning evidence stage” and are being heard in the various district courts of Delhi.
Among these three cases, two have been filed by two Delhi police constables against Kejriwal using a derogatory term against the “men in khaki”. The Saket court is recording the statement of complaint witnesses.
DDCA and its vice-president, Chetan Chauhan, filed a defamation case in February, against Kejriwal and others, accusing them of defaming the association by passing “scandalous” remarks. The court is recording the statement of the complaint.