A court here on Wednesday directed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh to appear before it on July 13 in connection with a criminal defamation case over to their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements with regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.
Summons and Exemption Application
The two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders were earlier summoned by a metropolitan court to appear before it on June 7. The case against the two has been filed by Gujarat University (GU).
In the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jayesh Chovatiya on Wednesday, Kejriwal and Singh were represented by their lawyers who filed an application to exempt their clients from appearance and also sought documents related to the complaint.
“The lawyers for both the accused appeared in the court today and filed an application seeking court documents. The court provided them with the documents …They also filed an application for their exemption from appearance in the court for today,” lawyer for Gujarat University Amit Nair said.
Acceptance of Exemption Application
While accepting their exemption application, the court pointed out a circular for speedy trial against MPs and MLAs and asked them when they can remain present. The respondents said they will remain present on July 13 for plea recording, he said.
Earlier, the court had summoned the two AAP leaders after observing that prima facie there appeared to be a case against them under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Background and Defamation Allegations
Gujarat University Registrar Piyush Patel filed a defamation case against the two leaders over their comments after the Gujarat High Court set aside the Chief Information Commissioner’s order on PM Modi’s degree.
Quoted Defamatory Statements
They made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on Twitter targeting the university over Modi’s degree, the complainant said, adding that their comments against Gujarat University were defamatory and intended to hurt the reputation of the varsity.
Witness Testimony and Evidence
Some of the comments quoted by the complainant and attributed to Kejriwal are: “If there is a degree and it is genuine, then why is it not being given?”; “They are not giving degree because it might be fake,” and “If the Prime Minister studied at Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that its student became the country’s PM”.
As per the varsity, Singh said that “they (GU) are trying to prove the PM’s fake degree as genuine”.
Four witnesses were examined and other evidence was submitted during the court inquiry, and the lawyer for the complainant argued that the statements by Kejriwal and Singh would make a person believe that GU issues fake and bogus degrees.