Terming as “scandalous” certain remarks made by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani against Union Minister Arun Jaitley, the Delhi High Court on Thursday observed that the one who has already filed a defamation suit cannot be defamed again.
The remarks in question were made by Jethmalani during his cross examination in a civil defamation suit filed by the Union Minister.
“…What is to be done when such scandalous remarks are made…?” said Justice Manmohan, adding that if a rape victim was subject to such cross-examination, it would tantamount to the victim being raped again and again in court.
“…We have to control. Everyone has to assist the court…,” he said.
The court was hearing the matter pertaining to Raghav Chadha’s plea seeking to amend his reply to the civil defamation case. Jaitley had filed the suit against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five AAP leaders, including Chadha, seeking Rs 10 crore as damages for their
accusations against the Union Minister in the DDCA funds matter.
Counsels for Jaitley, Rajiv Nayar and Sandeep Sethi, sought directions from the court seeking a reply whether the remarks were made by Jethmalani in his personal capacity, or after receiving instructions from his client, Arvind Kejriwal.
They said that if Kejriwal had given the instructions, they would amend the civil defamation suit and seek “additional aggravated damages” of Rs 10 crore. If Jethmalani had made the remarks in his personal capacity, they would take up the matter with the Bar Council of India (BCI), the counsels added.
Justice Manmohan said if the remarks were made at the behest of Kejriwal, he could step in the “box” (witness box) and prove the allegations. The judge then directed Jaitley’s counsels to file an application before the court.
“If such allegations have been made on instructions of Defendant 1 (Kejriwal), then no point in continuing with cross examination of plaintiff (Jaitley) any more. Let Defendant 1 make good his allegations. Let him step into the box,” the judge observed.
Meanwhile, counsel for Chadha, senior advocate Anand Grover said the matter was not concerned with plea for amendment of reply. In his view, it was a separate cause of action.