A Delhi court on Monday framed defamation charges against Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in a case filed by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit's political secretary for his alleged remarks against her during power tariff hike protests in October 2012. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Bansal said prima facie defamation charges are made out against Kejriwal and put him on trial after he pleaded not guilty. The court fixed January 18, 2014, for recording of evidence in the case.
Complainant Pawan Khera, officer on special duty and political secretary of Dikshit, had filed the defamation case against Kejriwal saying he had used "false and filthy" language against the CM in a television show.
While framing defamation charges against Kejriwal, the court said the AAP leader had defamed Khera and he spoke the defamatory word with an intention to harm his reputation. "By use of the said word..., you defamed complainant Khera who has been working as OSD/political secretary to Sheila Dikshit. You spoke the said word... intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputations will harm the reputation of complainant Khera and thus you defamed complainant and thereby you committed offence punishable under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and within my cognizance.
"Show cause why you should not be punished for the offence or do you have any defence to make," the CMM said.
While pleading not guilty, Kejriwal said Khera is not an aggrieved person and the complaint against him is false. "The complainant is not an aggrieved person and has no locus standi to file this complaint. The complainant is not a member of the Congress nor he has disclosed in clear terms his relationship with Sheila Dikshit. There are proofs available in public domain showing that electricity distribution companies were given unexplainable benefits.
"My accusation is well covered under exceptions first, second, third and ninth of Section 499 of the IPC. I have placed on record my detailed application in my defence. I also seek leave of this court to take any other defence available to me. This complaint against me is false," Kejriwal said.
The court had on October 26 said it would decide after trial the plea of Kejriwal questioning the locus standi of Dikshit's political secretary in filing the defamation case. The court had said that without framing notice of the accusation and without conducting trial, no decision can be made on the issue of locus standi of Khera. The AAP leader had, in his plea, said Khera has no locus standi to file the case, as he had not said anything against the political secretary. Moreover, only an aggrieved person can file a defamation complaint, he had said.
The AAP convener is accused of defaming Dikshit by making "baseless" allegations against her last year during several protests on the power tariff hike.
Kejriwal had opposed the complaint on the grounds that it has been filed by Khera and not by Dikshit herself. He had admitted the allegations levelled against him but said if Dikshit was defamed then she should have filed the defamation case herself.
"Due to politically motivated and malafide reasons, mischievous and absolutely false and baseless allegations have been intentionally made in a filthy and foul language, through convoluted information, to gain scandalising impact, at a platform where the same could not be rebutted, as Sheila Dikshit or the office of the chief minister of Delhi was not represented.
"This shows that the intention was to paint a patently incorrect picture in the eyes of the viewers, general public, thereby, causing irreparable harm to the reputation and standing of all, including complainant," the complaint alleged. It said that in October 2012, Kejriwal had organised several protests against "power tariff hike in the national capital and had accused the government of stalling Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission's move to cut power tariff by 23 per cent in 2010".