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Court dismisses case against Kejriwal over 'defamatory and seditious' comments on PM Modi

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

In a relief to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a Delhi court today dismissed a criminal complaint filed against him for allegedly using "defamatory and seditious" words against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following the CBI raid at his Principal Secretary's office.

A complaint was filed against Kejriwal for his comments on his Twitter account dated 15 December 2015 where said that 'Modi is a coward and a psychopath'.

However, the Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra rejected the complaint, saying the Chief Minister did not say anything to disturb the tranquillity of the state or to bring contempt to the sovereign of the government.

"From the facts of the case it is clear that the alleged derogatory expression used by the chief minister after the CBI raid was ventilation of frustration being aggrieved by the raid. The words and expressions used by him are not intended or directed to disturb the tranquillity of the state, which may lead ignorant persons to subvert the government and laws of the country. There is no element of attempt to induce discontent, insurrection, to stir up opposition to the government and bring the administration of justice into contempt. The alleged derogatory words are neither attempted nor excited discontent or dissatisfaction, public disturbance or lead to civil war to bring into hatred to contempt the sovereign of the government," the court said.

Complainant-advocate Pradeep Dwivedi had sought Kejriwal's prosecution under sections 124A (sedition) and 500 (defamation) of IPC alleging there was "seditious intention" behind the remarks which spread "hatred and contempt" against the Prime Minister.

The court said, "from the bare reading of the complaint and newspaper reports filed along with the complaint it is clear that the alleged derogatory expression used by the chief minister against the prime minister does not attract the ingredients of sedition and the complaint is misconstrued and allegations of sedition are not made out."

The court also expressed concern over launching of prosecution by anyone which will lead to opening flood gates of such complaints.

"If the contention of the complainant are accepted, a Pandora box of complaints will open. Anyone will be able to launch prosecution on behalf of defamed person and that in turn will take away the discretion of the aggrieved person to condone the act or ignore it," it said.

It further said that defamation involves private life of an individual and he has the complete discretion to manage his private affairs but "in case authority is given to all supporters, near ones, friends or public at large, whose sentiments are hurt because something ignominious is slandered against their beloved leader, it will open a flood gate of complaints..."

The court said that in the present complaint no specific legal injury is caused to the complainant.

"Just because the feelings, sentiments are hurt or disappointment/inconvenience is caused to the complainant being a spirited citizen sincerely committed to the Prime Minister, does not make him 'aggrieved person'," it said while dismissing the complaint.

"The complainant does not have any locus standi to file the present complaint for defamation as he is not the aggrieved person. The complaint is not maintainable and dismissed in limine," the magistrate said.

The complainant had earlier argued that the remarks like "coward" and "psychopath" uttered by the AAP leader against Modi were "defamatory and seditious" and such statements could spread "disharmony" and "disaffection" in the country.

Regarding the locus of complainant in filing the plea, the counsel had said that being a citizen of India, he was aggrieved by the comments of Kejriwal and was "competent to file a complaint in a case where statements were made against the prime minister of the country."

The complainant had alleged that when CBI had raided the Chief Minister's Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar's Delhi Secretariat office on 15 December last year, Kejriwal had made offensive remarks on his Twitter account against Modi.

The complainant alleged that Kejriwal had "intentionally" used defamatory words with a view to spreading a sense of "hatred and contempt" towards the prime minister.


First published: 31 May 2016, 6:29 IST