The Bharatiya Janata Party and its Parliamentary Board members were on Thursday directed by the Delhi high court to respond to former Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani's plea challenging his expulsion by the Board in May this year.
Issuing summons to BJP and its Parliamentary Board, including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and present prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Joint Registrar Hemani Malhotra directed them to file their replies by January 30, 2014 on Jethmalani's plea.
"Summons to be issued through speed post or courier to the respondents (BJP and board members)," Malhotra said, directing them to file their replies by January 30.
Advocate Ashok Arora, appearing for Jethmalani, submitted that there were many other aspirants in the party to become the PM candidate and because of his client, the noted lawyer, who was supporting the name of Narendra Modi for the prime ministerial candidate for 2014 general elections, they could not succeed and became aggrieved.
"Being aggrieved of my strong support to Modi, they (board members) had issued statements against me in media and other public fora," Arora said.
The lawyer further contended that some members of the board happened to be Jethmalani's junior and their behaviour was unwarranted.
To his submission, the Joint Registrar asked Jethmalani's counsel whether he had tried to reconcile the issue with the party.
In his suit for damage of Rs 50 lakh from the BJP Parliamentary Board members, except Vajpayee and Modi, Jethmalani sought the court to declare the Board's decision as "null and void".
Though Jethmalani has made Vajpayee and Modi party in the suit, he has not sought any damages from them.
Jethmalani in his suit also challenged the show cause notice issued to him on November 26, 2012 by the party, saying it was an "attempt to damage the plaintiff's (Jethmalani) reputation".
The senior lawyer-cum-politician was sacked from the party in May this year after he openly criticised some of the Board members including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.