No reprieve for Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh in Modi degree row

Gujarat High Court dismissed pleas by the AAP leaders to quash the summons issued against them 

Published - February 17, 2024 04:44 am IST - Ahmedabad

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. File.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

In a major setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his colleague and Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh, the Gujarat High Court on Friday dismissed their pleas to quash the summons issued against them in a criminal defamation case filed by Gujarat University over their comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualifications.

Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Singh had challenged the summons by a trial court in the case filed by Gujarat University and the subsequent order of the Sessions Court dismissing their revision applications against the summons.

Justice Hasmukh Suthar directed the two AAP leaders to make their submissions before the trial court.

Justice Suthar held that the Magistrate’s preliminary opinion — that statements made by Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Singh are prima facie defamatory to Gujarat University — “is tentative in nature and not conclusive”, with such issues being “subject to trial”, with all defences being available to the accused during trial proceedings. 

Seeking the quashing of the summons, the AAP leaders had said that Gujarat University cannot file a defamation case before a Magistrate court and rather should move the Sessions Court.

Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Singh had been summoned on April 15 last year in the defamation case filed by GU over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements in connection with Mr. Modi’s degree from the university

Subsequently, the two leaders had filed a revision application in the Sessions Court challenging the summons.

However, the Sessions Court upheld the summons, after which they approached the Gujarat HC, which also rejected their plea for an interim stay.

The two leaders also approached the Supreme Court, which too refused to entertain their pleas earlier. However, in a temporary relief to the two leaders in January, the Supreme Court had stayed the trial proceedings until February 16 while directing the Gujarat HC to decide on their petitions by then. 

With the latest verdict by the High Court, the trial is due to commence again unless a further stay is granted by the top court. The AAP leaders’ counsels did not seek a stay on the HC order on Friday. 

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