The Punjab and Haryana High Court have dismissed the plea of senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh seeking to quash the case proceedings and summoning order passed against him by the Ludhiana Magistrate Court over the defamation case filed by SAD leader Bikramjit Singh Majithia.
As per the complaint filed in January 2016 by Majithia, it was alleged that on September 5, 2015, Sanjay Singh had made scurrilous and defamatory statements against him at a rally at Moga in Punjab, which were published in the newspapers. It further alleged that again, on December 27, 2015 at a public rally at Fatehgarh Sahib, Sanjay Singh made similar statements about Majithia and they were published in newspapers on the next day. The import of these statements was that Majithia was involved in drug trafficking. A complaint was thus filed by Majithia on January 12, 2016.
Based on this, the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ludhiana, on January 22, 2016, examined the preliminary evidence, noted the arguments advanced on behalf of the complainant and issued summons to the accused to face trial.
Sanjay Singh filed an application before the magistrate at Ludhiana seeking exemption from appearance in the subject complaint case. However, the magistrate dismissed the application. Singh therefore moved the High Court challenging the order of the magistrate and seeking quashing of the case, contending that Magistrate at Ludhiana had not followed the provisions of Section 202 CrPC.
Majithia, in his reply, submitted that the petitioner had not attended 90 per cent of the hearings in the complaint case and asserted that merely because he was a Rajya Sabha MP, it did not entitle him to any special privilege.
The bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar, hearing the matter held that the order dated December 19, 2018, said, “It is manifestly clear from the record that the learned Magistrate at Ludhiana was utmost liberal while dealing with the individual exemption applications filed by the petitioner. So much so, the learned Magistrate granted liberty to the petitioner to seek exemption every time the Rajya Sabha was in session”.
Regarding the pleading of Singh for quashing of the matter and the summoning order, Justice Kumar said, “The summoning order clearly demonstrates application of mind by the learned Magistrate at Ludhiana and all relevant issues were duly considered by him before issuing process. This court therefore finds that the summoning order was passed after due compliance with the requirements of Section 202 CrPC and there was no violation of the mandate of this statutory provision.”
“Court finds that no grounds made out in either of the petitions warranting interference with the impugned orders passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate First Class, Ludhiana, in relation to Complaint No.69 of 2016,” read the order, while dismissing the plea of Sanjay Singh.
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