HC dismisses Kejriwal’s plea to strike down Jaitley’s reply

New Delhi,   The Delhi High Court today dismissed Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to strike down Arun Jaitley’s reply filed in response to his written submission in the second Rs 10 crore defamation suit against the Chief Minister.

Justice Manmohan held that the averments in the replication, or Jaitley’s reply to Kejriwal’s written submission, “crystalise” the Union Minister’s stand on an important issue and are relevant to the case.

The court also observed that the submission of the Union Minister in his replication “is not inconsistent, is not frivolous and also not abuse of the process of law”.

The court, however, granted four weeks’ time to Kejriwal to file his response to the new facts introduced by Jaitley in his replication.

The court’s order came on the Delhi Chief Minister’s plea seeking to strike out the entire reply of Jaitley filed in response to Kejriwal’s written submission.

Kejriwal claimed that Jaitley’s replication contained additional allegations which did not form part of the plaint, and hence, the chief minister did not have a chance to rebut them through his written statement.

Kejriwal has filed his written submission on court notice issued to him in a second civil defamation suit against him, filed by Arun Jaitley seeking Rs 10 crore as damage.

Later Jaitley was asked to file his reply to Kejriwal’s submission.

The second suit claimed that the then counsel of the Chief Minister, Ram Jethmalani, made derogatory remarks against Jaitley in the proceedings of another defamation suit between the two and five other AAP leaders.

The objectionable and defamatory remarks were made during court proceedings and were duly recorded by the joint registrar.

Jethmalani, who in September announced his retirement from over seven-decade long career as an advocate, had used certain words while cross-examining the Union Minister in a separate Rs 10 crore defamation case filed by the BJP leader against the AAP convenor and five others of the party in 2015.

The AAP leaders in December 2015 had levelled charges of corruption against Jaitley in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

Jaitley has denied all the allegations and also claimed that these had harmed his reputation.

With regard to Kejriwal’s claim that the “statements made during judicial proceedings are even otherwise protected by absolute privilege”, Jaitley has said no such privilege can be claimed by a person who instructed his lawyer to insult or use defamatory language against a witness.

Jaitley has claimed he is entitled to the relief sought by him and the suit be decreed in his favour.