New Delhi: A court here on Saturday fixed May 15 for commencement of arguments on framing of charges on a criminal defamation complaint filed by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit against BJP leader Vijender Gupta.
Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said she will hear the arguments on framing of charges by both the parties on May 15 and also allowed Dikshit`s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for today.
The magistrate allowed Dikshit`s plea after her lawyer Mehmood Pracha said that she could not appear in the court as she underwent a surgery recently and was not feeling well.
Pracha also submitted Dikshit`s medical records in pursuance to the court`s April 5 order in which the magistrate had asked him to place on record the medical records relating to her treatment.
During the hearing today, Gupta`s counsel Ajay Burman argued that as per law if the complainant, in a summons-trial case, does not appear in the case on several dates, then the court can dismiss the complaint unless there is a valid or plausible reason for non-appearance.
He also submitted that while the CM is not coming to the court, she is attending press conferences.
Burman said that law requires her to be present before the court, but she has not come since recording of her statement despite its orders.
He referred to the court`s October 12, 2012 order saying that on that date, the court had asked Dikshit to be present before it and had also said the complaint would be dismissed if she fails to appear before it.
"Compliance of an order is a must," Burman said.
Dikshit had filed the criminal defamation case against Gupta alleging that the BJP leader used "uncivilised" language against her in the run up to MCD polls last year.
Meanwhile, advocate Pracha moved Dikshit`s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for today and said that "the trial is not being delayed on our account".
"We are not delaying. She (Dikshit) is sufficiently represented. We have given sufficient reason (for her non appearance) each time. She wants to come, else I would have moved an application for permanent exemption from appearance," Pracha said.
He also referred to the court`s February 18 order as per which there was no need for Dikshit`s presence as the matter was at the stage of framing of notice.
During the hearing, Gupta`s counsel claimed that being the chief minister, Dikshit had managed to get the summons issued against his client within a week of filing of the complaint.
On this, the magistrate queried Gupta`s counsel, "What makes you say she obtained summons (as CM) within few days of filing the complaint"?
The counsel replied that "such procedure has not been adopted in any other case."
The court also asked Gupta`s counsel whether arguments are needed at this stage, to which he replied in the affirmative.
The lawyer cited a Delhi High Court judgement and argued that at the stage of framing of notice in a summons trial case, arguments need to be heard.
He also said that at the current stage of the trial, he can show that there is no material against him in the case and that he can be discharged.
On being asked about it, Prachal said "let him (Gupta) move an application first".
Gupta`s counsel then urged the court to hear him after May 9 saying that on that date, the high court will decide on the legality of the complaint.
Gupta has moved the high court to quash the proceedings against him in this case.