The Delhi High Court today gave an opportunity to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders to submit their reply on two documents furnished by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a civil defamation suit filed against them.
Justice Vipin Sanghi passed the order on the applications by Kejriwal and others, against whom Jaitley has filed the civil defamation suit, in which they had sought a direction to the union minister to strike off new allegations levelled by him in his replication (a plaintiff’s reply to the defendant’s plea).
“You (Kejriwal and others) will confine yourself only to the two documents which as per you have been added in the replication (of Jaitley),” the court said and fixed the matter for July 12.
These applications were filed in a suit in which Jaitley has sought Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he was its President.
The union minister has already denied all the allegations.
During the arguments on the applications, senior advocates Rajiv Nayar, Sandeep Sethi and Pratibha M Singh, who appeared for Jaitley, told the court that these two documents were part of the plaint filed by Jaitley.
“Our right to file replication cannot be questioned. They (counsel for AAP leaders) are saying that there are new facts in the replication but these facts were already there in the plaint,” Nayar said.
The advocates appearing for these AAP leaders argued that some new facts were added in the replication filed by Jaitley.
“Our grievance is that some new facts have been given in the replication. This should have been brought in through a amended plaint and it cannot come in the replication,” they said, adding that such paragraphs should be expunged from the replication.
During the hearing, the counsel for the AAP leaders told the court that no new facts can be added in the replication.
Jaitley’s lawyers said no fresh allegations were made in the replication and the documents were already there in the main plaint.
In their applications, the AAP leaders had claimed that replication by the minister was merely an elaboration of the plaint, which is part of the documents, and there was only one quotation which has not been mentioned in the main plaint.
Jaitley had filed the suit in the backdrop of attacks on him by 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 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 Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad.