AAP’s Sanjay Singh fears losing MP membership in defamation case, SC gives relief

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh has got immediate relief in the criminal defamation case filed by Gujarat University in the controversy related to PM Modi’s degree. The Supreme Court has currently put a stay on the trial against him. The Supreme Court has asked the Gujarat High Court to take a decision on the MP’s appeal for stay or interim relief within four weeks. While giving this order, the bench of BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta rejected the appeal of Sanjay Singh under which he had appealed to transfer the trial to another state.

The bench said, ‘We are not inclined to entertain the transfer petition, but request the High Court to hear the appeal for stay or at least interim relief within four weeks.’ The court further said in the order, ‘Till the time the High Court considers granting or dismissing the interim relief, the proceedings (in the trial court) should be stayed.’ Along with Sanjay Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s name is also included as an accused in the great loss case.

On December 28 last year, the local court in Gujarat had asked Sanjay Singh to be presented in the trial. However, the court was told that he has been arrested by ED in a money laundering case related to the alleged liquor scam of Delhi. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing in the Supreme Court on behalf of Sanjay Singh, said, ‘The intention is to convict me and disqualify me (from being a Rajya Sabha MP), while my stay appeal is pending before the Gujarat High Court. . I have not said a single word on Gujarat University and the university is the complainant in this case.

The bench told Singhvi, ‘If an order of disqualification is passed, it is for the court to look into it. We will direct the High Court to take a decision on the matter within a month. Otherwise the trial process will be put on hold till he (Sanjay Singh) is in custody. In a defamation case, the charges should be read out to the person.

Singhvi said that the university is funded by the state government and is under the control of the central government. The bench said, ‘Why should you have apprehension on the judge (for justice)?’ Singhvi replied, ‘It is a matter of the entire system. In the petition I have appealed to transfer it to Kolkata, or it can be done somewhere else also. I said Kolkata because this is the state with which my party is not associated.

Gujarat University has filed a defamation case against Sanjay Singh and Arvind Kejriwal, who had termed PM Modi’s remarks regarding his degree as derogatory against them. The comments were made following an order in the matter from the Gujarat High Court in April 2016.