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Delhi HC asks AAP leader Satyendar Jain to approach trial court in criminal defamation case

A single judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma allowed Jain to withdraw his plea, granting him the liberty to pursue appropriate proceedings before the trial court. The High Court clarified at the outset that it did not go into the merits of the case.

A single judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma allowed Jain to withdraw his plea, granting him the liberty to pursue appropriate proceedings before the trial court. (File)

The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked AAP leader Satyendar Jain to approach the trial court in connection with proceedings in a criminal defamation case filed against him by BJP councillor from the erstwhile North MCD Chhail Bihari Goswami.

A single judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma allowed Jain to withdraw his plea, granting him the liberty to pursue appropriate proceedings before the trial court. The High Court clarified at the outset that it did not go into the merits of the case.

When the matter was called, the HC asked senior advocate Rebecca John, who appeared for Jain, why they had not approached the trial court in a revision petition. “Why lose a forum,” Justice Sharma said.

John submitted, “My only case is that assuming I have said all of this (alleged statements), based on Manoj Tiwari’s case, this does not qualify as defamation”. To this the high court remarked, “please tell the additional sessions judge this”.

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Goswami filed a defamation case against several AAP leaders, including Jain, alleging they had made several defamatory statements through press conferences, tweets, etc. saying BJP’s leaders/erstwhile North MCD misappropriated funds of over Rs 2,400 crore.

In February, based on Goswami’s complaint, the trial court had summoned AAP leaders including Jain. “The court is of the considered view that prima facie accused persons namely Satyendar Jain, Atishi, Raghav Chadha, Durgesh Pathak, and Saurabh Bharadwaj have committed the offence punishable under Section 499/500 (defamation) IPC read with Section 34 (common intention) IPC,” the trial court had said.

After Jain and other AAP leaders sought discharge from the defamation case, the trial court on November 9 had held, “It has already been settled in law that in a summons case, there is no scope of discharge of the accused by the trial court or of recalling/review of the summoning order”.

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Dismissing their plea for discharge, the trial court had held, “Hence, the plea of the accused persons namely Satyendar Jain… seeking their discharge from the present case is hereby dismissed”.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 20:54 IST
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