HC stays trial court’s defamation proceedings against BJP leaders

Delhi High Court. File  

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed the proceedings before a trial court which had issued summons to BJP leaders, including Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, on a defamation complaint filed by Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri, who listed Mr. Bidhuri’s plea for further hearing in March, also issued notices to Mr. Chadha and the DJB.

Mr. Bidhuri, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, has contended in his petition that the defamation complaint and proceedings against him are an abuse of process of law.

The complaint, filed jointly by the DJB vice chairperson and Mr. Chadha, claimed that Mr. Bidhuri and the other BJP leaders indulged in a malicious campaign to tarnish their reputation. It had alleged that on January 21, a press conference was held by the accused who levelled allegations of corruption against the DJB and Mr. Chadha.

Mr. Bidhuri, in his petition, claimed that “all the comments in the press conferences/press release etc. were to show total mismanagement of functionality of the Board by the members of the Board resulting in statutory default by the Board”.

“The petitioner being a responsible Leader of Opposition is entitled to his democratic right to protest. The protests by way of press conferences and press release etc. were to bring the factual and actual facts regarding total mismanagement of accounts of complainant no. 1 (DJB) — an instrumentality of state, leading to default on the part of Government of NCT of Delhi by not getting the annual accounts audited as mandated,” it added.

Mr. Bidhuri submitted that the statements in question are not defamatory in nature since no personal allegations have been made against the complainants.

On November 18, a trial court had issued summons to Mr. Bidhuri and several other accused BJP leaders — Adesh Gupta, Vijendra Gupta and Harish Khurana — on the defamation complaint.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 10:00:28 AM |

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