The Supreme Court today said it may set aside an order of Delhi High Court granting exemption from personal appearance to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others in a defamation case filed by former Union minister Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana said it may remand back the matter to Delhi High Court to decide Kejriwal and other’s plea seeking discharge in the case, on merit.
“What the High Court has said in its order appears to be wrong. We may set aside the order and remand it back for deciding the plea on merit,” the bench said while posting the matter for further hearing on July 22.
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Kejriwal and others, said the matter in any case has to be examined by High Court as the stage of framing of notice has already crossed in the trial court.
He said the High Court has said the application for discharge in the case will be looked by the metropolitan magistrate at the stage of framing of notice but now that stage has also crossed.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Amit Sibal alleged that Kejriwal and others are trying to delay the trial in the case by now raising the issue of discharge.
He said that around 24 months have passed, but they had not challenged the order of the High Court for deciding their plea for discharge on merit.
The bench then said that in a complaint case, the question of discharge does not arise and wondered what will be implication if the High Court order is set aside.
The Delhi High Court in its judgement had asked the trial court to consider the pleas of Kejriwal and others including deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Shazia Ilmi and advocate Prashant Bhishan seeking discharge from the defamation case.
Sibal, who challenged the High Court verdict before the apex court, had earlier vehemently opposed the submission that there was a stay on the trial court proceedings in the case and it be allowed to continue.
Sibal had refuted the submission that the recent apex court judgement, upholding the constitutional validity of 156-year-old penal laws on defamation, had stayed the trial court proceedings for eight weeks in this case also.