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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

PM Modi Degree Row: SC Rejects Sanjay Singh’s Plea

Sanjay Singh, the leader of the AAP, received no solace on Monday when the Supreme Court declined to hear his petition contesting the summons that a trial court had issued in relation to a defamation lawsuit brought about by remarks he had made about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational background.

The division bench of justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta said, “We are not inclined to entertain the present petition.”

The bench added that the high court has already observed in its order that “all contentions available to the parties were kept open and the trial judge would not be influenced by any observations made in the order”.

On February 16, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed the pleas by Sanjay Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking to quash the summons issued against them in the defamation case.

They had challenged in the high court the summons issued by a trial court in the case filed by the Gujarat University and the subsequent order of the sessions court dismissing their revision applications against the summons.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Singh, said that there was nothing defamatory said about the university for it to file the defamation complaint.

“It is apparent from the pen drive video that the statement is not defamatory to the university. It was not said that the Gujarat University has forged the degree,” Rebecca John said.

However, the court said that it could be argued at trial.  “All a matter of defence. Only prime facie cases needed at the stage of complaint. You will have your opportunity. Read the complaint,” the Bench said.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi, who also appeared for Singh, said that there is a jurisdictional issue involved.

However, the court said that it was not inclined to hear two lawyers for Sanjay Singh. “We will not allow two counsel… And as far as criminal law is concerned, she [Rebecca John] is better placed,” the court said.

The bench decided that it would not interfere with the trial court’s summons to Singh.

Prior to the filing of the defamation case, the Gujarat High Court, in March 2023, ruled that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) need not furnish PM Modi’s degree certificates under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act). Following this, the Gujarat University filed a complaint accusing Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh of defamation.

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(Source: Business Standard)

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