PM Modi’s degree: Sessions court starts hearing pleas of Kejriwal, Singh in defamation case

A sessions court here on Wednesday began hearing pleas of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh challenging summons issued to them by a trial court hearing a criminal defamation case against them.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal and Rajya Sabha member Singh are facing a criminal defamation case filed by the Gujarat University over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements in connection with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.

Their matters were heard in the court of sessions judge JM Brahmbhatt, days after the Gujarat High Court directed them to be assigned to another judge as the one presiding over the matter earlier went on leave.

The high court, in its recent order, directed the principal judge of the sessions court to transfer their matters to another court and get them decided within 10 days from the date on which they are assigned.

The court heard the lawyers representing Kejriwal and Singh at length and kept the next hearing on September 8.

The lawyers for the two AAP leaders argued that the summoning order issued by the trial court was wrong and that Gujarat University could not file a defamation case. They said that no case was made against the two leaders.

The two leaders had moved revision pleas before the sessions court challenging the summons issued by the trial court, but the matters were kept for the next hearing on September 16, much after the date on which they were required to respond to the summons. They then approached the high court.

Meanwhile, the complainant, Gujarat University, assured the high court that it wouldn’t oppose the AAP leaders’ applications for adjournment before the magistrate or trial court for a suitable period until the final hearing and disposal of their revision application in the sessions court.

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

Gujarat University registrar Piyush Patel had filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and Singh over their comments after the Gujarat High Court set aside an order of the Chief Information Commissioner on PM Modi’s degree.

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

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Their comments targeting the Gujarat University were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the university which has established its name among the public, as per the complainant.

Their statements were sarcastic and intentionally made to hurt the prestige of the university, he said.

Some of the comments quoted by the complainant and attributed to Kejriwal are: “If there is a degree and it is genuine, then why is it not being given?”; “They are not giving the degree because it might be fake”; and “If the Prime Minister studied at Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that its student became the country’s PM”.

Singh said that “they (Gujarat University) are trying to prove the PM’s fake degree as genuine”, according to the complainant.

The AAP leaders’ statements would make a person believe that Gujarat University issues fake and bogus degrees, the complainant had said.

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