New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside a trial court order issuing summons against Union Minister Smriti Irani in a defamation case filed by Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam.
Justice R.K. Gauba allowed Irani’s plea seeking quashing of trial court order and said that the continuance of such criminal prosecution on the basis of available material would be an abuse of the process of law.
Irani has told the court that the complaint instituted by the Nirupam is an afterthought and counterblast to her complaint filed against the Congress leader.
“Having regard to the chronology of events, it is clear that the criminal complaint leading to the summoning order against the petitioner (Irani) was instituted by the second respondent (Nirupam) in the counterblast to the complaint of the former, there being no explanation offered for the delay,” the court said.
The court rejected Nirupam’s plea seeking to set aside the trial court order issuing summons issued against him in a defamation complaint filed by Smriti Irani.
A magistrate court on March 11, 2013, had issued summons against Nirupam for defaming Irani. However, another magistrate court on June 6, 2014, issued summons against Irani after taking cognsiance of a defamation case filed by Nirupam against the minister.
While discussing the Gujarat assembly elections in December 2012 on a TV channel, Nirupam mocked Irani as a former dancer who had entered politics only some years ago.
Both leaders were involved in a verbal exchange in the course of the TV debate and later filed defamation case against each other.
The HC noted that Irani retorted by stating that this was frivolous conduct similar to the one reflected by gunda elements.
“She (Irani) at no stage called him a “rapist” or a “molester” or an “eveteaser”, neither directly nor indirectly. Her (Irani) responses cannot be construed but as a caution to him (Nirupam) to remain within the bounds of decency and civility,” the court said.
“The petitioner and the second respondent have been in public life for quite long, engaged in active politics and associated with the political parties that generally have been seen to be opposed to each other. In their interest, their names have been withheld from mention, including in the cause-title,” the judge said in the opening paragraph of both the judgements.