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No urgency in defamation case against army chief: Court

May 28, 2012 20:02 IST

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh's plea for an early order on the issue of summoning Army Chief Gen V K Singh and other officers on his complaint of defamation against them.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said there was no urgency in the case and retirement of army chief on May 31 would not make any difference to it.

The court said it would pass an order only after going through the file relating to the publication of the army's March 5 press release in which Tejinder Singh was accused of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the army chief.

"I don't understand the urgency. It does not make a difference for me whether he (Gen V K Singh) retires or not," the judge said.

"In my view, until the inquiry contemplated on May 18, 2012 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," the judge said, listing the case for June 6 for perusing the file summoned by him from the ministry of defence.

Tejinder Singh, pressing for an early order, asked if the court would consider his plea if the file, sought by it, is brought by him.

The judge said "if I get the file pre-maturely, I will be bound to decide on the application". He, however, added that it would have to ascertain the veracity of the file thus produced before the court.

Tejinder Singh had earlier filed an application for permission to lead additional evidence to support his defamation complaint against Gen V K Singh and others.

In the same application, Tejinder Singh had also sought early summoning of Gen Singh and others in the case.

The court had earlier on May 25 allowed the first prayer and for holding a judicial inquiry, allowed Tejinder Singh to tender evidence and had also directed the defence ministry to produce the file relating to March 5 press release.

Tejinder Singh 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".

The court, however, declined his plea today saying the order on the issue of summoning could be passed only after the court goes through the file related to the issuance of the press release.

The court had been holding an inquiry under section 202 of the CrPC for determining the existence of a criminal conspiracy and complicity among the five, including the army chief, in issuing the press release on March 5 in which Tejinder Singh was accused of offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore to Gen V K Singh.

Section 202 of the CrPC empowers the court to hold an inquiry for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding in a complaint.

The court had earlier said before passing any order on summoning the respondents, it has to be inquired whether the army chief and four others named in the complaint, had any role in the publication of the press release.

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