A Delhi court on Monday dismissed a plea by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh for an early order on the issue of summoning Army Chief Gen V K Singh and four others in a criminal defamation case.
The court said that it would pass an order only after going through the file relating to the publication of the Armys March 5 press release accusing Tejinder Singh of bribery and spreading misinformation. The release had alleged that reports about unauthorised surveillance of phones of Defence Ministry officials were put out in the media by Tejinder Singh,besides accusing him of offering bribes on behalf of Tatra and Vectra,which supply trucks to BEML.
In my view,until the inquiry contemplated on May 18 is brought to its logical end by this court,it would be an improper exercise of judicial discretion to adjudicate upon the aspect of summoning the respondents, Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said.
The court had earlier listed the matter for June 6 after summoning records from the Defence Ministry regarding the release. Holding that the release was prima facie defamatory in nature,the records were summoned to see if all the five persons named in the complaint could be said to be in a conspiracy over its publication.
Though Tejinder Singhs counsel argued that the matter of summoning needed to be resolved before Gen Singh retires on May 31,the judge said,It does not make a difference to the case whether he (Gen Singh) retires or not.
Tejinder Singh asked if the court would consider his plea if he himself brought the file sought by the court. To this the judge said that if he brought the file and filed an application,the court would be bound to adjudicate on it. However,the judge added that the court would have to ascertain the veracity of the file first.
Tejinder Singh had earlier filed an application for permission to lead additional evidence to support his defamation complaint. In the same application,he had also sought early summoning of Gen Singh and others in the case.
The court had earlier allowed Tejinder Singh to tender new evidence. He had contended that the evidence led by him was sufficient for proceedings against the respondents and that the court should prematurely close the inquiry on the role of respondents in the publication of press release dated March 5,2012 and that the court should summon all respondents as accused in the matter.