The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and some other AAP leaders to stay trial proceedings in a defamation case filed by Union minister Kapil Sibal’s advocate-son Amit Sibal.
A bench led by Justice H L Dattu posted the matter for final hearing on July 21, while dismissing an application by Kejriwal and others for restraining the trial court from proceeding in the case.
The court turned down a request by the AAP leaders’ counsel Jayant Bhushan that till the disposal of the petition in the apex court, the court proceedings should be stayed.
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The bench said it can only expedite the hearing of the matter in the apex court and “nothing beyond it”.
The trial court has fixed April 19 as the next date of hearing.
The court also refrained from issuing any order on granting exemption from personal appearance of the AAP leaders, saying the trial court shall decide their request on merit when they move a formal application in this regard.
Earlier, the SC had stayed the Delhi HC order in the matter on an appeal by Amit Sibal. The HC had refused to quash defamation proceedings against the AAP leaders, but had told the trial court to consider the discharge plea of Kejriwal and Bhushan.
The Union minister’s son has filed the defamation suit against Kejriwal and AAP leaders Shazia Ilmi, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodia for alleging that Amit Sibal had taken advantage of his father’s position to represent telecom companies.
After the trial court summoned them for appearance, the AAP leaders moved the HC, seeking discharge from the case.
The HC on January 16 refused to entertain their request, but permitted them to move a similar plea before the trial court.
The HC had said if they moved an application for exemption from personal appearance, the trial court would grant it.
Amit Sibal challenged this order in the SC, arguing it was beyond the provisions of law. In his appeal, he said no provision of law permitted discharge from a defamation suit and the HC erred in permitting Kejriwal and Bhushan to move it before the trial court, with an advice to the trial court to consider it.