Kejriwal v. Jaitley to continue in trial court as Ram Jethmalani appears for Delhi CM

The Apex Court today refused to grant any relief to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation proceedings pending against him in the Patiala House trial court.

The case was an appeal against a Delhi High Court order, which had refused to stay the criminal defamation proceedings filed against Kejriwal by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

A Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and UU Lalit, before whom the matter was placed today, refused to interfere with the said order.

Jaitley had filed a suit seeking Rs 10 crore in damages in the Delhi High Court for Kejriwal’s comments on irregularities and financial misappropriation in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), of which Jaitley was the President till 2013.

He then filed a criminal defamation complaint on the same issue against Kejriwal and five AAP leaders in the Patiala House Court, while the civil defamation case was ongoing in the Delhi High Court.

Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Kejriwal, contended that it was a settled principle of law that the proceedings before a trial court should be stayed when a civil suit is already pending before the Delhi High Court.

Despite the best efforts of the veteran lawyer, the Bench chose to take the view that the principle was one which had occasionally been applied by the High Courts, but was not a settled principle of law.

Jethmalani then called upon the Apex Court to protect the dignity of the Chief Minister’s office, noting that the institution of proceedings reeked of malice.

“Why would you prosecute me on the very same day before a Magistrate’s Court, except ‘in terrorem’?”

However, the Bench then proceeded to dismiss the matter, observing that this was not a case that warranted interference.