In a criminal defamation case filed by senior advocate and AAP leader H S Phoolka against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler for allegedly making a derogatory remark about him in a programme aired on a private news channel in 2004, a Delhi court on Wednesday asked the complainant to produce the original transcripts of the video to ascertain the facts.
During the proceedings, Tytler offered to give unconditional apology to settle the matter. “The issue is of 2004 and we are in 2014. My client has been in public life for years and he has not been held guilty by any court. My client will tender unconditional apology,” Tytler’s counsel told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Gaurav Rao.
However, Phoolka refused to accept Tytler’s apology. “This is a serious matter and any compromise will send a wrong signal to the people. The allegations and the threat to kill me is not just derogatory to me but to the victims of ‘84 (anti-Sikh riots),” Phoolka said. “My fight is for upholding the law of the land,” he added.
The judge said the case does not relate to the 1984 riots and asked Phoolka to settle the matter. “You are a very senior member of the bar, it will be gracious enough of you if you resolve the matter through a settlement,” ACMM Rao said.
Phoolka said, “I will not do this. Sir, whatever you want, you may decide but settlement is not possible.”
The court has now directed Phoolka to produce the original video transcript of the programme. “It has transpired that part of the allegations are oral testimony and part are in the form of transcripts in the VCR. Hence, I have to go through the cassette and verify the transcripts,” the ACMM said.
Further, the court said the video should be in VCD/DVD format, and if VCR tape is procured, the complainant has to provide a VCR player and a television on the next date of hearing on August 2. It has also directed the complainant to produce a copy of the transcript to the accused. The judge also turned down Tytler’s request of being exempted from appearing at the next hearing.