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SC stays defamation proceedings in trial court against Arvind Kejriwal till Mar 11

SC stays defamation proceedings in trial court against  Arvind Kejriwal till Mar 11

New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the defamation proceedings going on in the trial court against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his alleged re-tweet against the BJP IT cell, till March 11.

A bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta stayed the summons issued to Kejriwal by the Trial court and adjourned the matter till March 11.

Kejriwal had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging a February 5 order of the Delhi High Court which had refused to quash the summons issued by the Trial court against him in a defamation suit for re-tweeting defamatory content against the BJP’s IT cell.

The summons was issued by the Trial court in a defamation case lodged against him for retweeting a video on social media platform 'X' making certain allegations related to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT Cell.

Appearing for CM Kejriwal, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said that the complaint against the Chief Minister was based solely on a retweet and that the original complaint was withdrawn. The same complaint was filed again after nine months, Singhvi said. "It's a case of defamation just for retweeting on X.

Even the Pre-summoning evidence was recorded, Singhvi said but then the Suit was withdrawn. The complaint was filed again nine months after the incident, and this fact was suppressed before the trial court, he said.
Kejriwal’s lawyer admitted that the retweet was a mistake, and then the court asked the complainant whether he was agreeable to withdraw the case and to close it. The Top Court also directed the trial court not to take up the matter till March 11.

Showing his surprise, Dr Singhvi said, "It's a case of an exact retweet. No addition, no deletion," Singhvi said. The technical point of the complaint was added in the re-filed petition.

Justice Khanna said, when it comes to retweets, there may be two ways to look at it: One is an endorsement. If it is an endorsement, then it may have its consequences. The other way to look at it is, you found something on the internet or the website and you are just sharing that information."

"That's the precise point to be decided," Singhvi said, "Unfortunately, the high court has taken the first view of retweets as endorsements."

"Dr Singhvi, to prove the point one has to lead the evidence.

Justice Khanna said, “ For a layperson, whether it is the first one or the second one, will be a matter that has to be determined based on evidence."

Dr Singhvi said, "There's no problem in admitting that this was a mistake if he had known that these would be the consequences."
The bench asked the complainant if he would be amenable to closing the case because of Kejriwal's admission that his retweet was a mistake.

Advocate Raghav Awasthi, representing the complainant, said he needs time to seek instructions from his client before agreeing to close the case.

Dr Singhvi requested the court for an adjournment in the trial court, saying "They are prosecuting him very fast, in the context of elections.

Justice Khanna relaxed the norms and said, Kejriwal need not appear in trial court for now, given the office he occupied.

Justice Khanna allowed the complainant's lawyer to 'seek instructions' on the issue of closing the case and posted the matter to March 11.
UNI SNG CS1800

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