New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday dismissed chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea questioning the decision of a judge to expedite hearing of a defamation suit filed by finance minister Arun Jaitley against him and five other Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders.
A bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C. Hari Shankar said the appeal filed by Kejriwal and AAP leader Ashutosh against the 26 July decision of a single judge was “misconceived and is devoid of merit".
“Hence the appeal is dismissed. They (AAP leaders) should not have filed this," the bench said.
The high court observed that expedition of trial is the “need of the hour" and recommended the same in all cases. It also said the application against the single judge’s directions was misconceived and “with the intention" to protract the hearing.
The court also noted that the AAP leaders had admitted that disparaging remarks had been made by lawyer Ram Jethmalani during cross-examination of Jaitley.
The court had on 25 August rapped the Delhi chief minister for questioning a single judge’s decision to expedite the hearing of a defamation suit filed by Jaitley. It had said that the court had to answer the apex court on delay in trials.
The court had on 26 July directed the joint registrar to expedite the recording of evidence in the civil defamation suit while disposing of an application filed by Jaitley.
Besides Kejriwal, the five other accused in the defamation case are AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.
They had accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader of corruption as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.
Jaitley, who denied all the allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had claimed that they made “false and defamatory" statements in the case involving the DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.