PM degree: Gujarat court junks Kejriwal plea on govt nod to prosecute him in defamation case

A metropolitan court here on Friday rejected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his prosecution in a defamation case over his remarks regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational degree, saying no prior sanction from government was needed to proceed against him as argued by the defendant.

Through his plea, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader had argued that he cannot be prosecuted without prior government sanction as he is a public servant as per the law.
The court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate SJ Panchal rejected Kejriwal’s plea, saying no such sanction was required, and kept the matter for further hearing on December 28.

On December 13, the AAP convener had filed an application before Panchal’s court challenging his prosecution in the matter on the grounds that since he is a public servant, sanction for prosecution should have been obtained under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Under section 197 of the CrPC, prior sanction from a competent officer is needed to prosecute a government servant for alleged criminal act done in discharge of his official duty.

Kejriwal had argued that he cannot be prosecuted without the required sanction.
Objecting to the Delhi CM’s plea, lawyer Amit Nair, representing the Gujarat University whose registrar had filed the defamation complaint, submitted that utterance of defamatory words does not fall under the category of discharge of official function and hence such a sanction was not required in the present case.

On December 13, magistrate Panchal had rejected Kejriwal and co-accused AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh’s applications seeking adjournment of proceedings in the defamation case filed by the university.

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The two politicians are facing a criminal defamation case filed by the Gujarat University over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements made in connection with PM Modi’s educational degree.

The court had summoned the duo after observing that prima facie there appeared to be a case against them under section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

GU registrar Piyush Patel had filed the case against the AAP leaders over their comments after the Gujarat High Court set aside the Chief Information Commissioner’s order on the PM’s degree.

They made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on their Twitter (now X), handles targeting the university over Modi’s degree, the complainant stated.
Their comments targeting the Gujarat University were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the educational institution which has established its name among members of the public, he said.

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