Saying that their remarks could have a “negative impact and leave an adverse impression in the minds of cricketers”, a Delhi court Monday summoned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad in an alleged criminal defamation complaint filed by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and its vice-president Chetan Chauhan.
Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra asked Kejriwal and Azad to appear before the court on February 18, stating that it was prima facie clear that they had made such a “serious defamatory remark” — that a DDCA official had sought sexual favours from an unnamed woman for her son’s selection.
The court said that it was prima facie clear that the statement by Kejriwal regarding “sexual favours sought by a DDCA official”, in an interview to a news channel, was made without any discreet inquiry and only on hearsay basis, which had adversely affected the reputation of the institution, its officials and the selection committee.
“Under the aegis of DDCA, hundreds of players are playing cricket. Such a drastic statement, and that too from the Chief Minister, may have a negative impact and leave an adverse impression in the minds of cricketers, officials and public at large, impacting reputation of the DDCA, its organisational functioning and the transparency of the selection process,” Malhotra observed.
“A person, especially holding a constitutional post, is reasonably expected to exercise sensitivity and prudence in making discourses and imputations, which may have negative impact on the reputation of an institution working in public domain,” the court added.
The court said it was prima facie clear from records that Kejriwal made the defamatory imputation with a knowledge that it may harm the reputation of the DDCA and its officials.
“The said statement is widely published and DDCA is reflected in a negative shade to public at large, raising serious concern about transparency of its selection process. Accordingly, prima facie the ingredients of section 499/500 IPC are attracted against Arvind Kejriwal,” the court said.
The summon order comes in a criminal complaint filed by Chauhan alleging that the defamatory statements were made “to remain in the public eye and gain political mileage”.