A Delhi court on Wednesday said if it is found that the magisterial court, which is trying the criminal defamation case filed by former Union minister M J Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani for two years, did not have the jurisdiction, "the entire trial, and not just the final argument, gets vitiated". The observation came from the court which will pass an order on October 22 on whether to transfer a criminal defamation complaint from the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) to another judge. An ACMM trying the case had on Tuesday sent the matter to Principal District and Sessions Judge seeking transfer of the matter to another court on the ground that his court was designated to hear cases filed against lawmakers.
Principal District and Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli, who reserved the order, noted that the notification does not bar the Magistrate concerned from hearing matters other than those against MPs and MLAs. "However, the object behind the notification is that the cases against the lawmakers be decided expeditiously," the judge said. She, however, pointed out that in case it is found that the magisterial court trying the matter did not have the jurisdiction, "the entire trial, and not just the final argument, gets vitiated".
During the arguments, senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for Akbar, said that almost the entire trial was over and only a few dates were remaining. "Great prejudice would be caused if the matter is further delayed," the counsel said. The counsel appearing for Ramani, however, said that the accused had no objection to any order passed by the court.