A Delhi court today fixed September 14 for framing of charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in a criminal defamation complaint. Metropolitan Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jha allowed the plea of Kejriwal and Sisodia, who were directed to appear today, seeking exemption for personal appearance for the day. Advocate Umesh Gupta, appearing for Kejriwal and Sisodia, sought exemption for the leaders on the ground that they were busy in bypolls in Bawana in north west Delhi today. Besides the two AAP leaders, the court would also frame charges against Yogendra Yadav in the case.
The court had on August 2 passed order on framing of notice (charge) on a criminal defamation complaint filed against the two AAP leaders, who sought quashing of the plea, and Yadav by advocate Surender Kumar Sharma who was denied a ticket by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest assembly polls. The court had said in the order that the contentions on behalf of accused persons do no sustain and proceeded to frame notice under the CrPC against them. Yadav was a member of the National Executive of the AAP until 2015 when he was expelled for alleged anti-party activities. Later, he floated his own party Swaraj India. Sharma, in his complaint, had alleged that in 2013 he was approached by volunteers of AAP who had asked him to contest the Delhi Assembly elections on a party ticket, saying Kejriwal was pleased with his social service. He filled up the application form to contest the polls after being told by Sisodia and Yadav that AAP’s Political Affairs Committee had decided to give him the ticket. But it was denied to him later.
On October 14, 2013, the complainant claimed that articles in newspapers carried “defamatory, unlawful and derogatory words used by the accused persons” which he said had lowered his reputation in the Bar and the society. Opposing the complaint, the AAP leaders had submitted that cancellation or allotment of an election ticket was the prerogative of the party and the complainant had not divulged correct information regarding the cases pending against him. On the basis of the complaint, the trial court had earlier sought their presence before it in the matter. It had granted bail to Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yadav after they had appeared before it in pursuance to summonses. The summonses were issued on the complaint under sections 499, 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, with the trial court saying there was prima facie material to summon the accused. The Delhi High Court had earlier refused to stay the trial court proceedings in the case.