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CM permanently exempted from appearance in defamation case

Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted permanent exemption to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from appearing in person before a trial court here in a criminal defamation case filed by Amit Sibal, lawyer son of former union minster Kapil Sibal.

Justice Mukta Gupta, however, said that if the proceedings in the matter are delayed due to Kejriwal’s absence, the “trial court has liberty to modify the order and direct the AAP leader to appear before it whenever required.” It also asked the leader to give an undertaking before a trial court that he will have no objection if the matter proceeds in his absence.

The counsel appearing for Kejriwal agreed to the condition imposed by the high court.

Taking note of this, the court said in its order that “the petitioner (Kejriwal) undertakes that in case permanent exemption is granted he will not dispute his identity, the witness identity and the evidence recorded in the matter”.

The court said: “Affidavit in this regard shall be filed before a trial court in one week from today. Considering his responsibilities and duties and in interest of justice, permanent exemption from personal appearance before a trial court is granted to the petitioner.” 

It also clarified that the counsel duly nominated by the Chief Minister shall also not seek adjournment on any ground in the matter before a trial court. The court said that if on any specific date the trial court needs the presence of Kejriwal, it can direct him to appear before it and the chief minister “will have to comply”.

The court’s order came on Kejriwal’s plea seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance before a trial court in the defamation case filed against him by Amit Sibal. Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for the CM, submitted that it was not possible for his client to appear on each and every date before a trial court as he, being the CM, had many other things to look after.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday appeared before the HC and tendered evidence in support of his civil defamation suit against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders. The Union minister came to the court of a Joint Registrar at 2 pm and recorded his evidence during which he endorsed the documents and annexures filed by him along with civil suit. 
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