Kejriwal loses right to defend defamation suit of AS Bhadana

 The Delhi High Court today closed the right to file response of former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation case by former Congress lawmaker Avtar Singh Bhadana seeking Rs one crore in damages from the Aam Aadmi Party leader.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014, 22:21 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today closed the right to file response of former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the defamation case by former Congress lawmaker Avtar Singh Bhadana seeking Rs one crore in damages from the Aam Aadmi Party leader.

With Kejriwal failing to file his response, Joint Registrar Anil Kumar Sisodia did not allow the plea of his counsel that some more time be given for filing written statement in the defamation suit of Bhadana, former Congress MP from Faridabad in Haryana who had alleged that the AAP leader had tarnished his image by branding him as "corrupt".

A bench of Justice A K Pathak, on February 19, had issued notice to the former Delhi chief minister on Bhadana's plea and had fixed the matter on May 6 for filing of reply by Kejriwal.

The Joint Registrar, on May 6, granted four more weeks to Kejriwal to file his written statement.

The court of Joint Registrar today refused to grant further time and closed Kejriwal's right to file reply and fixed the case for further proceedings on December 18.

In such cases, if the respondent does not file a response, the court will hear the petitioner and pass the order.

Kejriwal, who is the respondent, can, however, seek recall of the order of the joint registrar by the court and plead that he be allowed to file a written response.

The former Congress MP has contended in his petition that Kejriwal on January 31 this year in a public statement termed him as one of the "most corrupt persons in India".

"The defendant (Kejriwal) who himself is an elected representative of Delhi has chosen to name him (Bhadana) on January 31, 2014 as one of most corrupt persons of India in his public statement causing serious damage to plaintiff's reputation among his electorates, peers and supporters throughout India with a view to take electoral advantage in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014," it said.

The petition also stated, "This is sad and unfortunate that, instead of giving constructive criticism, defendant is making false and baseless allegations against respected leaders of various political parties and business houses and business institutions."

Bhadana has contended in his plea that despite sending a legal notice to Kejriwal, the AAP leader has not withdrawn his comments nor apologised for the same.