Jaitley had appeared in the high court and tendered evidence in support of his suit against Kejriwal.
New Delhi: In the hearing of the civil defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley against Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, an AAP spokesperson told the Delhi high court that the senior BJP leader must be open to “close scrutiny” and being a politician, must “tolerate fair criticism.”
AAP leader Raghav Chadha told the court that he had not uttered anything to defame the senior BJP leader. He maintained that the defamation action by Mr Jaitley was a “threat” and continues to be “a fetter on free speech” on a topic which is clearly in public interest.
The application filed by Mr Chadha, seeking to amend the written statement filed earlier and adding certain preliminary objections to the suit filed against him, came up for hearing before Justice Deepa Sharma.
A lawyer, appearing on his behalf, sought adjournment on the ground that the lead counsel, who would argue the matter, was not available.
Senior advocate Pratibha M. Singh and advocate Manik Dogra, representing Mr Jaitley, told the court that the trial proceedings in the matter were going on before the Joint Registrar and that the finance minister had tendered his evidence in support of his suit.
When the court fixed the matter for hearing on May 11, the counsel said it should be heard before March 6, the date fixed by the Joint Registrar for cross-examination of Mr Jaitley. To this, Justice Sharma said, “It does not matter. Let the trial proceedings continue there.”
Mr Jaitley, who has already denied all allegations of financial bungling in Delhi and in the District Cricket Association (DDCA), had filed the suit seeking Rs 10 crore as damage against the backdrop of attacks on him by Mr Kejriwal and some other AAP leaders over alleged irregularities in the cricket body.
On December 6 last year, Mr Jaitley had appeared in the high court and tendered evidence in support of his suit against Mr Kejriwal, Mr Chadha and other AAP leaders — Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, and Deepak Bajpai.
In his application, Mr Chadha said, “The plaintiff (Jaitley) is a politician and is currently holding a government office in the capacity of the finance minister of India. Therefore, being a politician, the plaintiff must be open to a close scrutiny.”