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Keriwal, AAP Leaders Deny Making Any Defamatory Statement Against Arun Jaitley

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has framed issues against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders in a civil defamation suit filed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley, notwithstanding their claim they had not made any defamatory statements against him in the DDCA case.

The issues were framed by Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw against Mr Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders after the chief minister’s counsel denied the allegations and submitted that whatever was said against the Union Minister was in public domain and he has not said anything on his own.

Besides Mr Kejriwal, other leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai also stated that there is absolute denial on their part and they are opposing the Union Minister’s plea.

The court then framed issues against all the six AAP leaders and fixed the matter for September 27 before Joint Registrar to decide whether any defamatory statements were made by them.

In a civil suit, when one party affirms and other party denies a material proposition of fact or law, then only issues arise.

Some of the issues framed by the court include whether Mr Jaitley is entitled for any damage for the alleged defamatory statements made by AAP leaders and what should be the amount.

“Whether the statements which are in public domain are actionable or not,” the court said in one of its issues. During the hearing, the judge objected to the statements made by senior advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for one of the AAP leaders, that the court is giving special treatment to this suit.

The judge said the senior advocate should sit in the court room and observe whether any special treatment is given in any of the matters and how the bench is proceeding.

“Such arguments are to be condemned,” he observed. Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, Pratibha M Singh and Rajiv Nayar opposed AAP leaders’ contentions saying they were contrary to their pleadings as they have admitted to making defamatory remarks in their written statement.

After the issues were framed and the matter was sent to Joint Registrar for further proceedings, Mr Jaitley’s counsel urged the court to appoint local commissioner for speedy disposal of the matter.

Mr Jaitley’s contention was opposed by AAP leaders who did not give their consent to appointment of local commissioner.

Arun Jaitley, who has already denied all the allegations of financial bungling, had filed the suit seeking Rs. 10 crore damages against the backdrop of attacks on him by Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in DDCA of which he was the president for about 13 years till 2013.

The Union minister has filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court on the same issue. The DDCA has also filed a criminal defamation suit against Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad.