Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal was on Wednesay released by a Delhi court on an undertaking after he refused to seek bail in a criminal defamation case filed against him by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's political secretary for his remarks during protests on power tariff issue.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Bansal released Kejriwal, who had been summoned by the court, on an undertaking that he would appear on every date of hearing after he refused to seek bail and furnish any personal or surety bond.
The court, however, made it clear that the relief would only be "valid till the next date of hearing", June 5, and asked him to challenge the summons order, if he feels aggrieved. "Section 500 IPC is bailable.... At this stage, the accused refused to furnish personal bond. He is released on an undertaking. Let the accused put signature on the order sheet and submit that he will appear on every hearing. This has to be taken as his undertaking. This will be valid till the next date of hearing only," the court said.
Kejriwal is accused of defaming Dikshit by making "baseless" allegations against her last year in several protests on power tariff hike.
Kejriwal himself argued, as his counsel could not enter the courtroom owing to lawyers' strike at Karkardooma courts. He objected to the complaint on the grounds that it has been filed by Pawan Khera, political secretary of the chief minister, and not by Dikshit herself.
"I admit the allegations levelled against me. If Sheilaji thinks that she has been defamed then she herself would have filed the case. This is a proxy complaint and as far as I know, the defamation case has to be filed by the person who has been defamed," he added.
During the hearing, Khera opposed Kejriwal's argument saying he has been working with the chief minister for part 15 years and if someone defames her, they are also defamed. "We derive honour from her. I am working with her for past 15 years. Being a part of the chief minister's office, I too was defamed by Kejriwal," he said.
The court asked Kejriwal to challenge the order if he feels that complainant Khera has no locus standi in the case. During the hearing, when the CMM decided to give bail to Kejriwal, he asked the activist if he has brought personal bond with him.
Kejriwal said, "No, I have not brought any personal bond and I will not seek bail as this our principle and we have done the same thing also in other cases lodged against us at Patiala house court."
Khera had filed the defamation complaint saying Kejriwal had used "false and filthy" language against Dikshit in a television show.
"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 capital and had accused the government of stalling Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission's move to cut power tariff by 23 per cent in 2010".
The complainant also said that being a part of the chief minister's office he too was defamed by Kejriwal.