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Settle dispute in 2 weeks: HC tells Delhi CM, BJP leader

April 24, 2012 16:32 IST

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave two weeks more to Sheila Dikshit and Vijender Gupta to amicably settle their dispute, which had led the chief minister to file a defamation suit against the BJP leader for allegedly making unsavoury remarks against her.

"Devise a mechanism to resolve the issue amicably. This is not an issue which should be stretched further," Justice Kailash Gambhir said after being informed by the lawyers for two leaders that they could not sit across to settle the case.

BJP's Delhi unit president Vijender Gupta, meanwhile, filed an application seeking dismissal of the case saying that the fair criticism of the government was part of a democracy.

"The statement was made against the government and nothing personal was said against the chief minister," said senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Gupta.

Lekhi, however, opposed the contention of Dikshit's lawyer that he was willing to withdraw the petition if the BJP leader gives an undertaking that he will desist from making uncivilised remarks against the CM in future.

"The mere giving of such an undertaking would amount to admitting that in the past I had made uncivilised remarks," Lekhi responded and added that this was an unprecedented suit, where CM had come to the court against fair criticism by an opposition leader.

The court after a brief hearing, asked the counsel for both parties to sit across table and resolve the case within two weeks and fixed the matter for further hearing on May 2.

The court earlier on March 15 had asked counsel to sit together and persuade their clients to resolve the matter by April 24.

The chief minister had filed the suit against Gupta for allegedly erecting hoardings across the city, accusing her government of conniving with private discoms and committing corruption in determining new power tariff.

The court had passed the order on March 15 after senior counsel Sanjay Jain, appearing for Gupta, submitted that his client had no intention to malign any individual but the government act was projected in a bad light.

Dikshit who had demanded a token Rs 1 as damages in her suit, had alleged that the BJP, under Gupta's leadership in June 2010 had erected hoardings in Delhi proclaiming that her government had "openly looted thousands of crores of rupees".

The suit said Gupta had hoardings put up, accusing Delhi Congress government of misrepresenting facts to city residents on power tariff.

The advertisements also claimed the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) was going to recommend reduction in power tariff, but the "chief minister came in the way".

Dikshit had moved the court after Gupta refused to tender a "public apology for the slander" as demanded by her.

As per the suit, the hoardings were erected at Pusa Road, Karol Bagh, Shankar Road, Hari Nagar, Jhandewalan, Delhi Gate, Rani Jhansi Road, Najafgarh Road, Rajendra Nagar Road, New Rohtak Road, Filmistan and Subzi Mandi.

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