New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday imposed another Rs5,000 as cost on Arvind Kejriwal over delay in filing his reply to a fresh Rs10 crore defamation suit filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley over use of an objectionable word allegedly by the CM’s former lawyer.
Joint registrar Pankaj Gupta directed Kejriwal, who was earlier slapped with Rs10,000 as cost, to deposit Rs5,000 in the ‘Army Welfare Fund Battle Casualties’. The cost was imposed after Jaitley’s counsel Manik Dogra informed the court that the chief minister’s written statement to the suit was filed beyond the time of two weeks granted by this court on 26 July.
The counsel further submitted that these were delayed tactics on the part of the chief minister. Advocate Rishikesh Kumar, appearing for Kejriwal, urged the court to condone the delay on the ground that the written statement could not be filed due to certain technical objections raised on two occasions by the high court registry.
Taking note of this submission, the registrar condoned the delay on behalf of the chief minister and said the same is “subject to deposit of Rs5,000 costs." The court has now fixed the matter for 12 October.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal, in his reply to the defamation suit, filed through advocate Anupam Srivastava submitted that the union minister’s suit “is liable to be dismissed as no civil action for damages for slander lies for any statement in pleadings or during the conduct of a suit against a party or a witness in it."
The high court had on 23 May sought response of Kejriwal on why defamation proceedings should not be initiated against him. Jaitley had filed the second defamation suit after Kejriwal’s then lawyer Ram Jethmalani allegedly “abused" him in open court during proceedings of another defamation suit he had filed against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and five other party functionaries.
During the cross-examination of the Union minister on 17 May before the joint registrar in the high court, Jethmalani had allegedly used a term Jaitley had found objectionable. A day after, another high court judge, who was hearing a connected matter, had termed as “scandalous" the remarks allegedly made by Jethmalani against Jaitley before the joint registrar.