A Delhi court on Tuesday refused to acquit Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a criminal defamation complaint lodged by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, holding his request was “without any merit”.
The application was moved under section 256 of the Cr.PC Gehlot seeking acquittal in the matter at hand, citing the absence of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat who is the complaint on August 7 and August 21 before the court.
The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harjeet Singh Jaspal stated that this court finds no merits in the said arguments put forth by the counsel for Ashok Gehlot.
“In fact, of the 5 judgments which counsel has placed on record, in two, the ‘hearing’ is being referred to the day of evidence. The ‘hearing’ cannot be read to have a definitive meaning for want of clarity on the ‘stage of proceedings’ otherwise too they are distinguishable. In the light of the aforesaid discussion, the application at handstands dismissed,” said the Court.
Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for Gehlot had argued that the law under section 256 of the Cr.PC is absolutely clear and warrants that in the absence of the respondent or complainant on any date, without a justifiable cause, which is admitted by the court in the form of an order on exemption application of the complainant, the accused ought to be acquitted in a complaint case.
Appearing for Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa submitted that Section 256 Cr.PC is applicable only when the matter is pending for evidence of the complainant and not prior thereto. The stage of Section 256 Cr.PC commences only after the framing of the notice and not before. Since in the matter at hand no notice has yet been framed, no question of application of Section 256 Cr.PC arises argued Advocate Pahwa.
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Sekhawat has recently moved Delhi Court and filed a defamation case against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleging that Gehlot has made speeches against him saying that the allegations regarding the SanjeevScam are proven against him.
On July 6, 2023, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Harpreet Singh Jaspal said, having considered the facts and circumstances, the testimonies of the complainant witnesses, and the evidence placed on record, it prima facie appears that the accused (Ashok Gehlot) has made specific defamatory statements, against the complainant.
Further, it prima facie appears that the defamatory statements of the accused have been sufficiently published in the newspaper/electronic media/social media, which may make the right-thinking members of the society shun the complainant, said the ACMM.
It appears that the accused by his spoken words and by words which were intended to be read, have made defamatory imputations against the complainant, knowing and intending to harm the reputation of the complainant. At the cost of brevity, it is again specified here that the discussion here cannot be said to be a comment on the final merits of the case, as the same is a matter of trial, the ACMM observed.