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Kejriwal gets bail in defamation case by BJP MP Bidhuri

Arvind Kejriwal at a function Delhi Secretariat

New Delhi :  Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was summoned as an accused in a criminal defamation complaint filed by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, was today granted bail by a court here.

Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh granted the relief to Kejriwal on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs 10,000 after he appeared before the court.

The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on August 6.

Kejriwal was summoned as accused by the court in February this year on a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Bidhuri, an MP from South Delhi parliamentary constituency, under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC.

Bidhuri had alleged that Kejriwal had defamed him during an interview to a news channel.

He had claimed that during the interview, Kejriwal had falsely said that criminal cases were pending against Bidhuri and a Congress leader but the Delhi Police was not taking action against them.

Bidhuri claimed that no case was pending against him and Kejriwal had defamed him by giving such a statement.

Both Kejriwal and complainant Bidhuri appeared before the court amid tight security in the court premises.

During the hearing, the court inquired from the counsel for both the sides as to whether the summons issued against Kejriwal in the case were stayed by the Supreme Court on pleas filed by him, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, challenging the constitutional validity of the criminal defamation law.

Advocate Rahul Mehra, the counsel appearing for Kejriwal, said “the accused (Kejriwal) had appeared before the court. Kindly grant the bail and proceed with the matter. If there is lack of clarity as to whether the summons are stayed by the apex court, kindly give an appropriate date for framing of the notice after the time period given by the apex court expires.”

The politicians had approached the apex court challenging the constitutional validity of penal laws on defamation on the ground that they are “outmoded” and inconsistent with the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The pleas had sought setting aside of sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the IPC and suggested that there is a need to decriminalise penal provision for offence of defamation.

The apex court had on May 13 rejected their pleas and upheld the law.

SC had given eight weeks time to the petitioners to approach the superior court against magisterial court’s summoning order or quashing of the complaint against them, if they wished.

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