It’s getting worse for Arvind Kejriwal

FILE- In this May 25, 2015 file photo, Delhi state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and leader of Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party attends a public meeting to mark the partyís 100 days government in the capital, in New Delhi, India. Anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal's government in the Indian capital has plunged into a crisis as a minister he fired over the weekend accuses him of accepting 20 million rupees ($300,000) in cash as a bribe. There was no immediate comment from Kejriwal on Sunday. But his Aam Admi Party spokesman, Kumar Viswas, rejected the allegation by party lawmaker Kapil Mishra, describing it as an attack by rivals. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, file)

New Delhi: In what can be termed as a bad news for Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court on Monday levied a fine of Rs 5,000 on him for delay in filing his reply in the civil defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley.

It is worthwhile mentioning that Arun Jaitley had filed a civil defamation case against the Delhi Chief Minister objecting to the use of a derogatory word by Kejriwal’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani in court.

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And that is where, the Delhi High Court had sought Kejriwal’s reaction as to why the defamation proceedings should not be initiated against him. At the time of a cross-examination by Jethmalani of the Union Minister before Joint Registrar in the Delhi High Court on May 17, Jethmalani had used the term ‘crook’ to which the senior BJP leader took offence and filed a civil defamation case. The Joint Registrar had asked the AAP leader to file his reponse by July 26.

Because of an apparent delay by Kejriwal in filing his reply, Jaitley’s counsel Manik Dogra brought the delay to the court’s notice. The counsel further submitted that these were delay tactics on the part of the chief minister.

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Taking this into consideration, the court has now fixed the matter for October 12. Kejriwal, in his reply to the defamation suit – filed through advocate Anupam Srivastava – submitted that the Union Minister’s suit “is liable to be dismissed as no civil action for damages for slander lies for any statement in pleadings or during the conduct of a suit against a party or a witness in it,” as reported.

On the other side of the spectrum, the AAP leaders had earlier accused Arun Jaitley of corruption during his tenure as the President of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post which he had held from 2000 to 2013. Jaitley, who had denied all the allegations levelled by AAP in December 2015, had filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements thus maligning his reputation.

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