PM degree row: Court rejects Kejriwal, AAP MP plea for fast-tracking hearing against summons

 A sessions court here on Tuesday rejected a plea moved by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his party colleague and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh to expeditiously hear their application challenging summons issued to them by a trial court in a criminal defamation case pertaining to their remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.

The court of sessions judge A V Hirpara rejected the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders’ plea for expeditious hearing in the case filed against them by Gujarat University over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statement in connection with the prime minister’s degree.

Kejriwal, who is also the AAP convenor, and Singh had on Monday requested the sessions court to hear their plea, challenging the summons by the metropolitan court, expeditiously after it adjourned the hearing to September 16.

Through their lawyer, the AAP leaders requested the court to hear their plea before the connected matters come up for hearing in the Gujarat High Court on August 29, and in the metropolitan court on August 31.

Kejriwal and Singh had approached the HC for a stay on the criminal defamation proceedings against them till the disposal of their revision plea in the sessions court.

The HC, had on August 11, issued notices to the state government and Gujarat University registrar Piyush Patel returnable on August 29. At the same time, it had refused to grant them interim relief.

Meanwhile, the metropolitan court had granted them time to appear before it on August 31 over summons. The metropolitan court had summoned the two leaders after observing that prima facie there appeared to be a case against them under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deals with defamation.

Gujarat University registrar Patel had filed a defamation case against the two AAP politicians over their comments after the High Court set aside the Chief Information Commissioner’s order on PM Modi’s degree.

They made “defamatory” statements in press conferences and on Twitter handles targeting the university over Modi’s degree, the complainant claimed.

Patel argued that their comments targeting the university were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the institution, which has established its name among members of the public.

Their statements were sarcastic and intended to intentionally hurt the prestige of the university, the complainant said.

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