If You Reduce Public Debate To This Level, You Must Face Consequences: SC Refuses To Entertain Manish Sisodia's Plea Against Defamation Case By Assam CM
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia withdrew his plea against the defamation case by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after the Supreme Court was not inclined to accept the plea.
The Bench of Justice S K Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka ordered that the petition is dismissed as withdrawn as the petitioner intends to raise the plea at a later stage.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Sisodia and submitted that public discourse is being curtailed by browbeating.
"If you reduce the public debate to this level, you must face consequences", Justice Kaul said.
Singhvi said that his client has never said that Sarma's wife has received the money. "You made a virtue out of necessity by calling it a donation," Singhvi said.
"You must have unconditionally apologised", Justice Kaul said.
Singhvi said that his client is entitled to say what he said. "Then you face the consequences", Justice Kaul said.
"Instead of realising what the country was going through, you were just making accusations", Justice Kaul said when Singhvi answered that the remarks were made during the peak of the Covid pandemic.
When Singhvi said that there was innuendo in the remarks, Justice Kaul disagreed by saying that it was not just innuendo.
Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar appeared for the Respondent.
Manish Sisodia had approached the Gauhati High Court filing a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking quashing of the proceedings of case under Sections 499 and 500 IPC, which is pending before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup (M) at Guwahati.
As per the complaint, on June 4, 2022, Sisodia had addressed a press conference at New Delhi where an alleged defamatory statement was made against the Chief Minister accusing him of indulging in corruption. The video of the said press conference was uploaded to the YouTube channel of the Aam Aadmi Party, with caption – "Assam ke BJP CM ke bhrastachar ka yeh hai kacha chittha".
The allegation of Sisodia was that Sarma had given a government contract to his wife's Company for purchasing PPE kits and while purchase from others were made at Rs.600/- per kit, such kits were purchased from the Company of the wife of Sarma at the rate of Rs.990/- per PPE kit.
"Therefore, notwithstanding that the petitioner has not been able to demonstrate that the contents of his press conference was a replica of the contents of "The Wire" and "The Cross Current", but it is apparent that the petitioner did not take care to cross-check facts before making remarks against the respondent no. 2 and his wife", the High Court had held.
Riniki Bhuyan Sharma, wife of Himanta Biswa Sharma has filed a defamation suit claiming Rs. 100 Crore as damages from Manish Sisodia in Guwahati's (Kamrup Metro) Judge Court.