New Delhi, August 25
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging the high court order rejecting his request to stay the criminal defamation proceedings filed by the Gujarat University over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualification.
Gujarat University Registrar Piyush Patel had filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and AAP leader Sanjay Singh over their alleged comments after the Gujarat High Court set aside an order of the Chief Information Commissioner for providing information about Modi’s degrees to them under the RTI Act.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti said it is not issuing notice on the plea as the matter is pending before the Gujarat High Court and is listed for hearing on August 29.
The bench said the Gujarat University and Kejriwal can raise their grievances before the high court.
At the outset, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, said the high court had wrongly refused to grant interim stay on the defamation proceedings against him.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the University, said there was suppression of facts by Kejriwal.
The Gujarat High Court had on August 11 rejected Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh’s plea seeking an interim stay on the criminal defamation proceedings against them.
A Gujarat metropolitan court had earlier summoned Kejriwal and Singh in the defamation case over their “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements in connection with PM Modi’s degree. The matter is listed for hearing on August 31.
The two AAP leaders later filed a revision application in the sessions court challenging the metropolitan court’s summons in the case.
However, the sessions court on August 7 rejected their plea for an interim stay on trial, after which they approached the Gujarat High Court. The revision application in the Sessions Court will now be heard on September 16.
Only Kejriwal moved the top court challenging the high court order of August 11.
According to the complaint filed by Patel, the two leaders made “defamatory” statements at press conferences and on Twitter handles targeting the university over Modi’s degree.
Their comments targeting the Gujarat University were defamatory and hurt the prestige of the university which has established its name among the public, the complainant said.
“Their statements were sarcastic and intentionally made to hurt the prestige of the university,” Patel has said in his complaint.
On March 31, the Gujarat High Court had quashed a 2016 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which directed the Gujarat University to provide information on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree to Kejriwal, observing the AAP chief’s RTI plea appeared to be “politically vexatious and motivated” instead of being based on “sound public interest considerations”.