HC stays summons to Vijender Gupta in defamation case

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed a trial court order issuing summons to BJP MLA Vijender Gupta in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Delhi Cabinet Minister Kailash Gahlot.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri gave the direction on Mr. Gupta’s plea challenging the summons issued to him for allegedly making defamatory statements on purported irregularities in the procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation.

The High Court will hear the case again on March 4 next year.

Mr. Gupta was summoned as an accused by the trial court on October 11 on the Delhi Transport Minister’s complaint. The trial court had said there was prima facie enough evidence to summon Mr. Gupta as an accused for the alleged offence of defamation.

Senior lawyer Ajay Burman, appearing for Mr. Gupta, argued that his client was covered under the exceptions to defamation under the Indian Penal Code as the statements were made in discharge of public service as a Leader of the Opposition.

Senior advocate Manish Vashisht, appearing for Mr. Gahlot, stated that Mr. Gupta’s tweets were “absolutely scandalous” and made in the absence of any “conclusive finding by any judicial body”.

In his complaint before the trial court, Mr. Gahlot has alleged that Mr Gupta “intentionally and for malafide purposes” defamed him and tarnished his reputation to gain political mileage. He claimed that Mr. Gupta levelled “defamatory, scandalous, mischievous, false and scurrilous allegations” verbally as well as in writing.

The complaint also said that “vilifying and scandalous” allegations were made by Mr. Gupta in order to stall the “ambitious project of the Delhi Government to give major relief to the residents of Delhi”.

It has also claimed that Mr. Gupta made unabated tweets doubting the integrity of the minister in relation to the purchase of the low floor buses, in spite of a clean-chit being given by a high-powered committee.

It said the Delhi Government floated a tender for buses and after due process, it was awarded to Tata but all sorts of allegations were made.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 12:59:44 PM |

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