The Delhi High Court today stayed the proceedings against BJP spokesperson and media relations incharge Harish Khurana and others before a trial court in a defamation case filed against them by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Sisodia had filed a defamation complaint against six people, including Khurana, for allegedly levelling corruption charges against him.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma issued a notice and sought Sisodia's response to a petition filed by Khurana challenging the trial court's November 28, 2019 order summoning him as an accused in the defamation case.

The High Court also issued a notice to Aam Aadmi Party leader Sisodia on the application to stay the proceedings before the trial court.

"Issue notice. Respondent may file reply to the petition and the stay application. In the meanwhile, the proceedings qua the present petitioner (Khurana) be stayed," the High Court said.

It listed the matter for further hearing on March 10, when the petitions by co-accused BJP leaders Hans Raj Hans and Manjinder Singh Sirsa are also listed.

On January 5, the High Court stayed the proceedings against Hans, a member of Parliament, and Sirsa, an MLA, in the case.

The trial court had on November 28, 2019, passed an order summoning the six people accused in the criminal defamation case.

Sisodia had filed the complaint against BJP leaders, Members of Parliament Manoj Tiwari, Hans Raj Hans and Pravesh Verma, MLAs Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Vijender Gupta and BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana for allegedly making corruption charges against him with regard to "inflated" cost of construction of classrooms in Delhi government schools.

Khurana's counsel submitted before the High Court that the proceedings against Hans and Sirsa were stayed on January 5 and a similar order be passed on his petition. Sisodia's counsel opposed the petition.

The accused were earlier granted bail after they appeared before the trial court.

The AAP leader had filed the complaint under section 200 of the CrPC for the commission of offences under sections 499 and 500 read with Sections 34 and 35 of the IPC for making false and defamatory statements in print, electronic and social media.

Sisodia had rejected the allegations made by the BJP leaders, jointly and individually, as "false, defamatory and derogatory". He claimed the accusations were made with the intention to harm and damage his reputation and goodwill.

The offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years.

With PTI Inputs