The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed proceedings against BJP leaders Hans Raj Hans and Manjinder Singh Sirsa before a trial court in a defamation case filed against them by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
Sisodia had filed a defamation complaint against six people, including Hans, a member of Parliament and Sirsa, an MLA, for allegedly levelling corruption charges against him.
Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued a notice and sought Sisodia’s response on the separate petitions filed by Hans and Sirsa challenging the trial court’s December 23 last year order dismissing their applications seeking discharge in the defamation case.
The high court also issued a notice to Aam Aadmi Party leader Sisodia on the application to stay the proceedings before the trial court.
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“In the meantime, proceedings before the trial court qua the present petitioners (Hans and Sirsa) be stayed,” the high court said and listed the matter for further hearing on March 10.
The trial court had on November 28, 2019, passed an order summoning the six people as accused in the criminal defamation case filed by Sisodia.
Sisodia had filed the complaint against BJP leaders — Members of Parliament Manoj Tiwari, Hans Raj Hans and Pravesh Verma, MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Vijender Gupta and BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana — for allegedly making corruption charges against him in relation to Delhi government schools’ classrooms.
Thereafter, Hans and Sirsa had filed applications seeking discharge in the case which was dismissed by an additional chief metropolitan magistrate on December 23 last year. The two leaders then approached the high court challenging the order.
The counsel for Hans and Sirsa informed the high court that against the summoning order Vijender Gupta approached the Supreme Court which on October 17 last year had set it aside qua him.
The court was also informed that the case is listed before the trial court on January 6 for framing of notice and the counsel for the petitioners urged that the proceedings be stayed.
The accused were earlier granted bail after they appeared before the trial court.
The AAP leader had filed the complaint under section 200 of CrPC for commission of offences under sections 499 and 500 read with Sections 34 and 35 of the IPC for making false and defamatory statements in print, electronic and social media.
Sisodia had stated that all the allegations made by the BJP leaders jointly and individually were false, defamatory and derogatory with an intention to harm and damage his reputation and goodwill.
If convicted, the offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years.