The Delhi High Court Tuesday allowed Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ‘settle’ two civil defamation suits on the ground that the AAP convenor has apologised for his remarks and the senior BJP leader has accepted the same.
The defamation suit against AAP leader Kumar Vishwas will continue as he has not offered to settle the matter. Jaitley, Kejriwal and four other AAP leaders had moved a joint settlement plea before two different judges of the High Court. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw allowed them to settle the first defamation suit after it was informed that they wish to end the matter.
The court noted that the Finance Minister has accepted their apology. “Taking note of their joint application for settlement, decree is passed in term of compromise arrived by the parties. I have perused the compromise application along with affidavits and find it to be lawful. The application is allowed,” Justice Endlaw said.
The court, however, said the defamation suit against Vishwas will continue as he has not offered to settle the matter, and has not been represented by his counsel in the court.
It asked the counsel for Jaitley and other AAP leaders to inform Vishwas about Tuesday’s order and said that if nobody appears for him on the next date of hearing, April 26, it will proceed against him.
Justice Manmohan closed the second defamation suit filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal over the alleged use of a scandalous word by the CM’s former lawyer Ram Jethmalani in open court during the Union minister’s cross-examination in the first defamation suit.
The court accepted the written undertaking and statements of both leaders and decreed the suit in accordance with the settlement application. Justice Manmohan noted that Jaitley has accepted the apology tendered by way of letter, and disposed of the Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Kejriwal. The court said both parties shall be bound by their settlement terms and conditions.
Jaitley had filed a civil defamation suit in December 2015, claiming Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and five AAP functionaries — Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, Deepak Bajpai and Vishwas. In May 2017, when Kejriwal’s then counsel Jethmalani allegedly made scandalous remarks against Jaitley during cross-examination, he filed a second defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against the CM.
Further, Jaitley had in December 2015 lodged a criminal defamation case against the AAP functionaries for their remarks relating to alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA. In this case, too, a joint application was moved to settle the matter, and was allowed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal on the ground that Kejriwal had apologised to Jaitley.