This year witnessed a number of heavy-weight politicians in courts either deposing in cases filed by them and in those filed against them. Defamation cases and “two leaves” party symbol made news in 2017 and leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Arun Jaitley, Arvind Kejriwal were the highlights in such cases.
Here is the list of politicians who knocked courts’ door and who were subjected to allegations in court in 2017.
Arun Jaitley and Arvind Kejriwal: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed two criminal defamation suits against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The first defamation suit was against Kejriwal and several AAP leaders for claiming that Jaitley used his office as the chairman of the Delhi & District Cricket Association for profit and was involved in corrupt practices. The second libel suit against Kejriwal was filed alleging that Kejriwal directed Jethmalani, Kejriwal’s counsel, to pass abusive remarks against Jaitley. Consequently, the chief minister disowned the statement made on his behalf by Jethmalani and distanced himself from the jurist as well. Jethmalani, however, did not budge and alleged that it was Kejriwal who instructed him to do so.
Shashi Tharoor: Shashi Tharoor was dragged to court when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy filed a petition seeking diretction for probe in the murder of Shashi Tharoor’s wife, Sunanda Pushkar. The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition stating, “It is left with a distinct impression that this is perhaps a textbook example of ‘political interest litigation’ being dressed up as PIL”.
However, Arnab Goswami raised a debate on his TV channel, The Republic and termed Tharoor a “criminal”. Calling the TV channel the “Banana Republic” channel, Tharoor later filed a Rs two-crore defamation suit against Goswami and the channel for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him on the channel. While hearing the defamation suit, the high court refused to restrain Goswami from airing the news but asked the channel to respect the politician’s “right to silence”.
Sharad Yadav-led faction of Janata Dal (United) and T T V Dhinakaran-V K Sasikala faction of AIADMK: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led faction as the real JD (U) and Sharad Yadav faction of Janata Dal (United) parted ways when Kumar joined BJP. The question regarding the real JD(U) arose and the “Arrow” symbol was dragged to the Election Commision (EC). On November 17, EC passed an order in favour of the Kumar faction saying that Kumar “has demonstrated overwhelming majority support”. EC’s order was further challenged by the Yadav faction in the Delhi High Court, which issued a notice to the EC directing EC to state reasons for the order.
In a bid to retain the AIADMK “two leaves” party symbol, both factons of the party rushed to the Madras High Court and later the Election Commission allotted the symbol to symbol to the unified front of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami (EPS) and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS). Challenging the EC’s order, rebel AIADMK faction’s TTV Dinakaran approached the Delhi High Court and the court issued a notice to EC for allotting the “two leaves” symbol to Panneerselvam. The matter will now be heard on February 12.
Virbhadra Singh: CBI had filed a disproportionate assets case against the former chief minster of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh and his wife. Singh claimed the case as “political vendetta” and had filed several pleas in the Delhi High Court seeking to quash the case against him.