Thursday, November 30, 2023

PM Modi degree row: Gujarat court refuses to quash summons against Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh in criminal defamation case

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A local court in Gujarat on Thursday dismissed the revision plea filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Singh against a Magistrate court order summoning them for allegedly making defamatory statements over the academic degree of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Earlier on September 8, Additional Sessions Judge at Ahmedabad J.M. Brahmbhatt had reserved his verdict against the trial court order, which had issued summons against the two Aam Aadmi Party leaders in an open court.

A detailed copy of the verdict is awaited.

On April 17 this year, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Jayeshbhai Chovatiya, based on a defamation complaint made by the Gujarat University, had issued summons to both Kejriwal and Singh, noting that the statements made by them were prima facie defamatory.

After perusing the oral and digital evidence shared in a pen drive, comprising Kejriwal’s tweets and speeches made after a judgment of the Gujarat High Court in the matter, the ACMM passed the summoning order.

The trial court had opined that the accused were well-educated political office-bearers, who were aware of the effect of their statements on the public.

The trial court ruled that when political office bearers, instead of fulfilling their duty to their people, started doing any work for personal enmity or selfishness, it would be considered a violation of the trust of people.

The accused challenged the summoning order before the sessions court through Advocates Aum Kotwal and Farrukh Khan.

Gujarat University had filed a defamation complaint against the AAP leaders for allegedly making derogatory statements against it over not disclosing the degree of Prime Minister Modi. 

The High Court of Gujarat had also ruled that there was no need for the varsity to disclose the Prime Minister’s degree. The High Court further imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Kejriwal. 

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