The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition to strike down Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s reply filed in response to the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s written submission in a defamation case, PTI reported.
The matter relates to Jaitley’s Rs 10-crore defamation suit against Kejriwal after the Delhi chief minister’s former lawyer Ram Jethmalani called the finance minister a crook in court in May.
Justice Manmohan said Jaitley’s reply to Kejriwal’s written submission “crystalises” the minister’s stand, “is not inconsistent, is not frivolous and also not abuse of the process of law”. The court granted Kejriwal four weeks’ time to file his response to Jaitley’s reply.
Kejriwal had claimed that Jaitley’s reply contained new allegations that were not part of the original complaint, which did not give him the chance to counter them through his written statement.
On August 23, the Delhi High Court had asked Kejriwal to respond to Jaitley’s plea seeking action against him for allegedly submitting a false affidavit. Jaitley had filed an application claiming that the AAP chief had not been truthful in his affidavit in the defamation case, when he claimed he had not asked his former counsel Ram Jethmalani to use derogatory words. Jethmalani had opposed Kejriwal’s statement and withdrawn from the case. He no longer represents the chief minister.
Kejriwal also facs a separate Rs 10-crore defamation suit filed by Jaitley against him and other AAP leaders in 2015. The case is related to Kejriwal’s claims that Jaitley had misused funds and his position while he was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association. The finance minister had filed a civil and criminal defamation case against Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai in 2016.