Updated: September 18, 2017 6:16:55 pm
The Delhi High Court Friday pulled up Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Ashutosh for filing a plea to set aside an order of a single judge, which had directed that the trial in the Rs 10-crore defamation suit filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley be conducted expeditiously.
Underlining that the judge “could not be faulted for ensuring speedy trial” and courts were “duty bound to conduct trial expeditiously”, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the bench was hearing a grievance against a trial being expedited “for the first time”.
On July 26, Justice Manmohan had passed an order stating that the dignity of the court had to be maintained and no person could be subjected to scandalous remarks in the garb of cross-examination. The judge also limited the presence of only advocates appearing in the case in the court room.
Subsequently, Kejriwal and Ashutosh had filed the plea stating that the judge had “erred grievously in holding that the joint registrar is recording evidence under supervision of the court and if a party is subjected to abuse or humiliation during cross-examination, the court could certainly intervene”.
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It said that power to record evidence was to be exercised as per rules by the joint registrar, and only the joint registrar had the power to decide any objections. The plea said, “The… single judge failed to appreciate that the joint registrar is a delegate of the High Court, not of any individual judge.”
It added that as the joint registrar had disallowed certain questions while cross-examination on May 17, “there was no further cause for the single judge to exercise its power in the manner in which it was exercised…” The plea also questioned the judge’s order, limiting lawyers’ presence in the courtroom as it would cause “great inconvenience” to counsels, their associates and the general public.
Claiming that the order had to be set aside as “it was passed without jurisdiction and being a nullity”, the plea also said the judge could have provided two months to Kejriwal’s counsel as there were about 5,000 pages of document on record pertaining to the suit.
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