New Delhi: Former Army Chief General V K Singh, facing criminal defamation charges, was Monday granted exemption from personal appearance by a Delhi court.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja, while deciding the retired General`s plea for permanent exemption from personal appearance, said the order allowing him to appear through his counsel cannot be construed as permanent exemption and the relief was being granted to him "till further orders".
The magistrate, in his order, said whenever V K Singh comes to the court, he brings a crowd with him, which disrupts the proceedings.
"The appearance of accused number one (V K Singh) is inconsequential for the proceedings of this court and the fact that the experience of this court has been that the appearance of accused number one (along with his supporters) in the court results in general disruption of court proceedings and consequent heated arguments amongst the advocates, the accused number one is granted exemption from appearance till further order of this court," the court said.
V K Singh had sought permanent exemption from appearance before the court on ground of parity as the other four accused -- three serving Army officials and one retired Army officer-- have already been granted the relief.
"Before parting with this order, it is clarified that the exemption granted vide this order is not to be construed as a permanent exemption as referred in section 313 of the CrPC," the court said.
It also gave one week`s time to the former Army chief asking him to file an affidavit or undertaking stating that he will not dispute the identity as accused in the case.
Complainant Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh had filed a criminal defamation case against V K Singh, Vice Chief of Army S K Singh, retired Lt Gen B S Thakur (the then Director General of Military Intelligence), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Colonel Hitten Sawhney.