New Delhi: A court here today exempted Delhi BJP President Vijender Gupta`s from personal appearance before it today in response to fresh summons issued against him in a defamation case filed by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chouhan allowed Gupta`s plea for exemption from appearance on July 12 and fixed the matter for August 31, seeking his presence in court that day.
The magisterial court had on June 22 issued fresh summons to Vijender Gupta for July 12 after he had failed to appear before it in response to its earlier summons issued on June 4.
Gupta`s counsel Abhay Kumar Verma, appearing before the court in his civil dress in support of the ongoing boycott of work called by the Bar Council of India, told the judge that the Delhi BJP president was not able to appear due to prior engagements of his party work.
The counsel, however, pressed for the presence of the Delhi chief minister, saying "being the complainant in the case, she should also appear before the court".
Verma also told the court that the issue is pending before the Delhi High Court.
Gupta had moved the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the summons issued against him.
The high court while issuing notice to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit on Gupta`s plea, had refused to stay the summons issued against him.
It had, however, granted him liberty to approach the magisterial court to seek exemption from personal appearance on July 12.
The summons were issued against the Delhi BJP President on Dikshit`s allegation that he had used "uncivilised language" to defame her before the MCD polls, held on April 15.
The chief minister had also filed a civil suit in the Delhi High Court demanding a token damages of Rs one from Gupta for erecting hoardings across the city, accusing her government of conniving with private discoms and indulging in corruption in determining power tariff.
Gupta, however, had contended in the high court that "fair" criticism is part and parcel of a healthy democracy.
The chief minister had testified that she had sent legal notices to Gupta after the civic polls but the BJP leader did not apologise and rather stood by his remarks.