Delhi HC asks Subramanian Swamy to argue on maintainability of plea challenging defamation proceedings against him

The Delhi High Court Thursday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to first advance submissions on the issue of maintainability of the plea he has filed before it challenging the proceedings pending in a trial court in a criminal defamation case lodged against him by the party’s Delhi unit spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.

Swamy has approached the high court challenging the summons issued to him by an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) in the defamation case and sought quashing of the proceedings against him.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma was of the view that Swamy should have first approached the revisionist court, which is a sessions court, instead of directly moving the superior court.

“Let arguments on maintainability (of the petition) be advanced first,” the high court said.

As none appeared on behalf of Bagga, the high court said he shall be served the court notice through the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station concerned, and listed the matter for further hearing on August 23.

During the hearing, Swamy’s counsel submitted that the court should dispose of the petition since Bagga has chosen not to appear in the case.

The high court had on April 4, 2022 stayed the proceedings before the trial court in the defamation case and had also issued notice to Bagga on Swamy’s plea.

On March 22, 2022, the ACMM had passed the order summoning the former Rajya Sabha Member as an accused in the defamation case, saying there was sufficient ground for proceeding against him.

In his complaint, Bagga has claimed that in September 2021, Swamy falsely alleged in a tweet that before joining the BJP, he (Bagga) was jailed many times for petty crimes by New Delhi Mandir Marg Police Station.

Swamy’s counsel had argued that the trial court order was misconceived as his tweet was misconstrued.

He said there was material in the public domain to show that the “substantial allegation” in his tweet that the complainant was jailed existed.

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In his testimony before the trial court, Bagga had argued that the allegations against him were false and had been made to harm his reputation.

“Even sub-inspector Sandeep Kumar, Police Station Mandir Marg, has also corroborated the version of the complainant… This clearly shows that without verifying the veracity of the statement, Swamy made the same and in view of this court, said statement is sufficient to raise the reasonable doubt about the antecedents and character of the complainant,” the trial court had noted.

The trial court had said it was prima facie satisfied that there were sufficient grounds for summoning Swamy as and accused in the defamation case.

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