The Rouse Avenue Court, New Delhi has dismissed the plea of AAP leaders namely Satyendra Jain, Atishi Marlena, Raghav Chaddha, Durgesh Pathak and Saurabh Bhardwaj seeking their discharge from the defamation case under Section 499/500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidhi Gupta Anand observed that in a summons case there is no scope of discharge of the Accused by the Trial Court or of recalling/review of the summoning order.

Senior Advocate Manish Vashisht appeared for the Petitioners. Advocates Amit Tiwari and Shoumendu Mukherji appeared for the Complainant.

The Complainant, Chhail Bihari Goswami, a BJP councillor in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and an Advocate by profession, has alleged in his complaint that Durgesh Pathak held a press conference making false, misleading and defamatory allegation that there was corruption of Rs. 1400 Crores in the North MCD and that the property tax of sum of Rs.1400 Crores was illegally collected and distributed among themselves by BJP councillors.

It is stated that Durgesh Pathak tweeted a defamatory statement that BJP leaders had misappropriated the salaries of employees worth Rs. 2500 Crores.

It is alleged against Satyender Jain that he made a similar defamatory statement which was published in Danik Jagran newspaper and shared on AAP's Facebook page.

It is alleged that Aatishi Marlena held a Press Conference which was also live-streamed on the Facebook page of the AAP and levelled false allegations against BJP leaders regarding scam of Rs. 2500 Crores in the North MCD and the statement was tweeted and published in newspapers.

Against Raghav Chadha and Sourabh Bhardwaj also, it is alleged that they made similar defamatory statements which were shared on Twitter, Facebook and were published in newspapers.

The Court held that it is not within the powers of the Court to discharge the accused persons and hence, the plea taken by the Accused persons seeking their discharge from the case is per se misplaced.

On the argument of the Accused persons that the complainant is not an aggrieved person as per section 199 Cr.P.C, the Court noted that "…it is yet again reiterated that it shall be decided only after conclusion of trial as to whether Complainant is an aggrieved person or not and at this stage, since cognizance has already been taken, court cannot delve into this issue."

The Court further noted that there are no merits in the submissions of the Accused persons against serving of notice of accusation under Section 251 Cr.P.C. upon them.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the plea.

Cause title- Chhail Bihari Goswami v. Satyendra Jain & Ors.

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