The Supreme Court today asked the Delhi High Court to decide the plea of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking quashing of the defamation case filed against him by former Union minister Kapil Sibal’s lawyer son Amit Sibal. A bench of justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, while remanding back the matter to the High Court, made clear that the proceedings before the trial court in the defamation complaint would continue.
The clarification regarding continuance of the trial court proceedings was made when senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sibal, expressed the apprehension that Kejriwal and others may use the order for remanding the case back to the High Court to seek a stay on the pending proceedings before the Patiala House courts here.
Amit Sibal had filed the defamation complaint against Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan for alleging conflict of interest on his part.
The apex court had earlier said that it may remand the matter back to the High Court to decide Kejriwal and others’ plea seeking discharge in the case on merit.
The Delhi High Court had in its judgement on January 16, 2014 asked the trial court to consider the pleas of Kejriwal and others seeking discharge from the defamation case.
The High Court had also refused to quash defamation proceedings against AAP leaders.
Challenging the order, Amit Sibal told the apex court that the High Court cannot confer the power to discharge on a Magistrate in a triable case instituted on a private complaint.
Kejriwal had held a press conference on May 15, 2013, alleging conflict of interest on the part of Sibal, saying he appeared in the court for a telecom firm when his father was the communications minister. Following the accusation, Amit Sibal had filed the defamation complaint.
The trial court had issued summonses to them on July 24, 2013.