HC raps Kejriwal for appeal against expediting defamation suit

Arvind Kejriwal and Arun Jaitley

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday (August 23) issued notice to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to respond within four weeks on a plea seeking action against him for allegedly filing a false affidavit that he had not instructed his counsel to use derogatory words against Union minister Arun Jaitley. "The single judge can not be faulted for ensuring a speedy trial", the bench said, adding that this applied to every matter being filed in the court. It expressed surprise at the arguments made in the latest plea and took objection to some of the submissions, pointing out that no one should "cast aspersions on the single judge".

Justice Manmohan in his order dated July 26 stated among other things that cross examination be conducted expeditiously and that only advocates appearing in the case be present in the courtroom. Adding that courtrooms can not be used for publicity, the bench said,"Both parties are people of eminence. The single judge can not be faulted for ensuring a speedy trial", the bench said, adding that this applied to every matter being filed in the court."We are hearing for the first time that a party is aggrieved on expeditious trial of a matter because it will conclude", it added.The court on July 26 had directed the joint registrar to expedite the recording of evidence in the civil defamation suit while disposing of an application filed by Jaitley , As Reported By DNAIndia. "It is due to the consideration of the stature of people involved that the... judge has passed such an order".

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The learned Single Judge has thus failed to appreciate that any interference in the ongoing recording of evidence is a violation of O.S. Rule 3. He also opposed the direction of the single judge to allow only lawyers connected with the defamation suit to be present in the JR's court, arguing that it defeats the goal of an "open court" hearing.

Jaitley's lawyers Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi have urged the court to allow them to file a criminal complaint against Kejriwal for making a false statement and filing a false affidavit.

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