Calcutta High Court quashes defamation case against Suvendu Adhikari

The Calcutta High Court quashed a defamation complaint which was lodged against BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on the pretext of being not filed before an appropriate court. 

Single-judge Justice Bibek Chaudhari said that the complaint is triable before a special Magistrate or a special court designated to hear cases against Members of Parliament (MP) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

The judge without going into the merits of the complaint, said the Chief Judge of the Sessions Court in Calcutta erred in taking cognizance of the defamation complaint filed against Adhikari. 

The bench said. Without going into the merit of the case this Court fails to understand as to how the Chief Judge took cognizance of the offence. This criminal case shall have to be instituted and tried before the competent Court of the Magistrate.

The Court, however, granted liberty to the complainant to file the complaint before the appropriate court.

The judge noted that both the Supreme Court as well as the Calcutta High Court has issued detailed guidelines regarding constitution of special MP/MLA courts in the State. It further noted that by virtue of two notifications issued on March 6, 2018 and January 27, 2021 such special courts to try such cases were set up in the State.

The bench held that this case is exclusively triable by the special Magistrate or the Special Judge for trial of cases relating to MPs and MLAs in the State. Therefore, the initial cognizance and the order of issuance of process is bad and I do not require even the assistance of the Public Prosecutor to quash the proceedings of Complaint.

Hence, the bench quashed the defamation complaint pending before the Chief Judge, City Sessions Court. 

The judge made it clear, complainant is at liberty to take back the written complaint and file the same in the appropriate Court.

A public prosecutor had lodged a defamation case against Adhikari for uploading certain statements on his Twitter handle regarding detention of a bus. The prosecutor claimed that it was a false statement.

Senior Advocate Sekhar Kumar Basu, Sourav Chatterjee, Rajdeep Mazumdar, Mayukh Mukherjee, Soumya Nag, Aditya Tiwari and Namrata Chatterjee appeared for the Petitioner.