The Supreme Court, today, declined to intervene in the ongoing defamation trial involving Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pertaining to the controversial statements made by Kejriwal regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's university degree. The defamation trial was initiated by Gujrat University soon after the Gujarat High Court had quashed the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Gujarat University to disclose details regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti ordered, "We are not inclined to issue notice in the present Special Leave Petition as the matter is still sub-judice before the High Court and is fixed for hearing on 29th of August 2023. We hope and trust that the High Court will decide the aforesaid petition, that is Special Criminal Application No. 10351 of 2023 on the said date. We must record that a number of pleas have been raised by the Solicitor General on behalf of Gujarat University, the said pleas can be raised before the High Court."

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Arvind Kejriwal while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for Gujarat University. Singhvi had told the Court that the defamation trial against Kejriwal was going at "breakneck speed" while both the Session Court and the High Court refused to stay the trial. "Request is refused at this stage", noted the impugned order of the Gujarat High Court while posting the matter for August 29, 2023.

Singhvi further submitted that the summoning order was issued wrongly by the Trial Court. "The next date in Trial Court is 31st August, the next date in Session Court, which your lordships can direct to decide the matter, is on 16th of September. Till that the trial Court should not proceed", said Singhvi.

On the other hand, SG Mehta submitted, "There were innuendos in the statement made by Kejriwal and he suppressed the fact from the High Court that his personal appearance has been exempted by the Trial Court." SG stated that Kejriwal had moved to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court frivolously.

On March 31, 2023, the Gujrat High Court had its in order noted that the purpose of Kejriwal is ostensible which is politically vexatious and motivated instead of being based on sound public interest considerations. The Court held that the case neither pleads nor establishes the existence of any public interest and therefore imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000/- on Kejriwal. The Single Judge observed, “As explained in the judgment of the Supreme Court, the term “public interest” would not mean matters where "public is interested”. There can be certain matters where public may develop interest out of curiosity. Such interest has nothing to do with “public interest” which is the test required to be applied under Section 8(1)(e) and (j). The present case neither pleads nor establishes existence of any public interest.”

Recently, Kejriwal had moved a Review petition on the ground that the Gujarat High Court had quashed the CIC order in view of the statement made that Modi's Degree is available and displayed by the University on its website but on the contrary upon a scan of the said website of the Gujarat University, the said 'degree' is not available but a document referred to OR (Office Register) is displayed.

Cause Title: Arvind Kejriwal v. the State Of Gujarat [SLP(Crl) No. 010191 - / 2023]