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SC termed Delhi govt’s defamatory circular as ‘height of hypocrisy’: Prashant Bhushan

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Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday said the Supreme Court, while staying the Delhi government’s anti-media circular, had termed it as the ‘height of hypocrisy’ on the part of state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“When this application came before the Supreme Court, that on the one hand Arvind Kejriwal was seeking stay of criminal defamation proceedings against him by challenging the constitutional validity of criminal defamation law in the penal code. On the other hand, he was issuing a circular to the Delhi government, saying that persons who say anything against the Delhi government or its ministers should be prosecuted,” Bhushan told ANI. “Then the court said that this is the height of hypocrisy and you can’t ask for criminal defamation to be declared unconstitutional on one hand and then use the same law for prosecuting media on the other hand,” he added.

Bhushan further said that the Delhi Government’s circular to media houses smacked of an attempt to threaten and browbeat the media. “Clearly, it smacked of an attempt to threaten and browbeat the media and say that we will use the government machinery and government expenses to harass, intimidate and prosecute you for criminal defamation,” he added. The Supreme Court had earlier in the day stayed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s circular against the media over the publication of ‘defamatory’ news against the Aam Aadmi Party government. The apex court had also questioned Kejriwal’s stand on the issue and had given him six weeks time to respond. On Saturday, Kejriwal had urged officials working with the Delhi Government to lodge complaints against ‘defamatory’ news items which ‘damage the reputation’ of the government with the Principal Secretary of the home department.