Will have to face the consequences: SC to Sisodia in defamation case filed by Himanta Biswa

New Delhi: “If you reduce public debate to this level, you will have to face the consequences,” the Supreme Court said on Monday while hearing a plea by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma filed a criminal defamation case against him. The High Court had dismissed Sisodia’s plea seeking quashing of the defamation case filed by Sarma over corruption allegations made by the Delhi Deputy CM.

After the top court showed its reluctance to entertain Sisodia’s plea against the high court’s November 4 order, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader withdrew it.

Sarma files criminal defamation case against Sisodia for making “baseless” corruption allegations regarding supply of PPE kits “above market rate” to National Health Mission (NHM) officials during first wave of COVID-19 was. 19 Pandemic.

The AAP leader had claimed that Sarma had given supply orders to his wife’s firm in 2020 as the state’s health minister. Sarma has denied these allegations.

The matter came up for hearing on Monday before a bench of Justices SK Kaul and AS Oka.

Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Sisodia, said that the AAP leader nowhere said that any money was taken.

“If you reduce public debate to this level, you will have to face the consequences,” the bench said. The petitioner should have first tendered an unconditional apology.
Singhvi said that one cannot use authority to “intimidate” others and the petitioner never said that any money was taken.

“You will have to face the consequences,” the top court said, adding that the allegations were made during the pandemic.

The top court said that instead of understanding what the country is doing during the pandemic, the petitioner is making allegations.

Singhvi later withdrew the petition.

After the hearing, advocate Nalin Kohli, representing the Assam government, said, “Essentially, while issuing summons, a court has to see whether there exists a prima facie case in respect of false allegations which are themselves defamatory. ..”

In its order, the High Court had noted that Sisodia has not been able to make out any case for quashing the proceedings in the matter, which are pending disposal before the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup, at Guwahati.

The high court had noted that Sarma had filed a complaint alleging that on June 4 this year, Sisodia had addressed a press conference in New Delhi, where he made allegations against the Assam chief minister of indulging in corruption. had made a defamatory statement against him.

Took note of Sarma’s complaint about Sisodia alleging corruption in awarding a government contract to his wife’s company to buy PPE kits.

It was alleged that such PPE kits were purchased from others at the rate of Rs 600 per kit, while the same were purchased from a company owned by Sarma’s wife at the rate of Rs 990 per kit.

The High Court had said that the Chief Judicial Magistrate had found sufficient grounds to proceed against Sisodia in August this year and issued summons to him.

On June 21, the Assam Chief Minister’s wife Riniki Bhuiyan Sarma filed a defamation case of Rs 100 crore against the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister on the same allegation.