New Delhi: A Delhi court has refused to quash summons against a Hindu Mahasabha leader for allegedly defaming a priest during a news channel's debate, saying it was prima facie clear that he had made the imputations with the intention to harm the complainant's reputation.
The court dismissed a revision petition filed by Swami Chakrapani of Hindu Mahasabha, seeking to set aside a magisterial court order summoning him as an accused for allegedly defaming the priest, Ajay Gautam, in October 2013.
"The words used by the petitioner (Chakrapani) in his alleged remarks are per se defamatory and were made on a TV news channel. Thus, it is prima facie clear that petitioner made imputations with the intention to harm reputation of the respondent (Gautam) or at least it can be assumed, that he had knowledge that the words used by him regarding the character of the respondent would harm his reputation," Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Gupta said.
The court said since a prima facie case has been established against Chakrapani, he will have to stand trial to prove his innocence.
Gautam had alleged in his complaint that Chakrapani had publically levelled false allegations against him on two news channels and defamed him by making derogatory remarks.
The court noted that Chakrapani has not denied his remarks but only rejected his contention that utterances and counter-utterances cannot be termed defamatory.
"No one has a right to make any defamatory statement or use defamatory words which could harm the reputation of a person in the eyes of the society even during countering the arguments of the other person. In the aforesaid discussions, the imputations made by petitioner have been found to be prima facie unfounded and defamatory," it said.
The court said that prima facie, Chakrapani's intention could be gathered from the facts that he knew on which platform the debate was going on and that the words used by him for Gautam would have wide circulation.