SC stays proceedings in criminal defamation complaint against Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the proceedings in a criminal defamation complaint filed in Gujarat against RJD leader and Bihar deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav over his alleged “only Gujaratis can be thugs” remark.

A bench of Justices A S Oka and Pankaj Mithal agreed to hear Yadav’s plea seeking transfer of the case pending before a magisterial court in Ahmedabad to a place outside Gujarat, preferably Delhi.

The bench issued notice and sought response from the Gujarat-based man, who has filed the defamation complaint against Yadav, on the RJD leader’s plea.

Yadav, through his lawyer Ajay Vikram Singh, has approached the apex court seeking transfer of the case.

The top court has posted the matter for further hearing in January.

A complaint was filed in a Gujarat court against Yadav under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for alleged criminal defamation. The Gujarat court had in August conducted a preliminary enquiry against Yadav under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and found sufficient grounds to summon him on the complaint filed by Haresh Mehta, a local businessman and activist.

According to the complaint, Yadav had said while talking to the media in Patna in March 2023 that “only Gujaratis can be thugs in the present situation, and their fraud will be forgiven.”

“Who will be responsible if they run away with the money belonging to the LIC or banks?” the Bihar Deputy CM had allegedly said.

The statement defamed all Gujaratis, Mehta claimed in his complaint.

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