A Gujarat court on Tuesday issued a new summons to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh. They are required to appear before the court on June 7 in a criminal defamation case filed by Gujarat University concerning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's academic degree.
Court issues new summons after previous summons didn't reach two
Following the court's realisation that the previous summons, which had instructed Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Singh to appear in court on May 23, had seemingly not reached them, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate SJ Panchal issued a fresh summons. This new summons was issued after it was brought to the court's attention that neither Kejriwal nor Singh were present in the court during the scheduled hearing.
Previously, the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate Jayesh Chovatiya had summoned the AAP leaders in response to a criminal defamation complaint. The complaint was filed due to their "sarcastic" and "derogatory" remarks made against the Gujarat University regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's academic degree.
On Monday, Pranav Thakkar, the head of AAP's legal cell in Gujarat, stated that neither Kejriwal nor Singh had received the summons that had been issued to them by the court.
GU lawyer apprises new judge of the case
During the court session on Tuesday, lawyer Amit Nair, representing Gujarat University, briefed the new judge, SJ Panchal, about the case. He informed the court that the previous judge had issued the necessary legal documents on April 15, summoning the accused individuals to appear on May 23. However, as no one was present on the specified date, it remains unclear whether the summons were successfully served to them or not.
After being apprised of the situation, the judge instructed the court staff to verify the status of the previous summons. Once the verification was completed, the judge then ordered the staff to issue a fresh summons to Kejriwal and Singh.
Based on the complaint filed by Gujarat University registrar Piyush Patel, the previous additional chief metropolitan magistrate, Jayesh Chovatiya, issued a summons on April 15. This decision was made after finding prima facie evidence suggesting a case against Kejriwal and Singh under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The defamation case stemmed from comments made by Kejriwal and Singh following the Gujarat High Court's decision to overturn the Chief Information Commissioner's order, which had requested the university to disclose information regarding Prime Minister Modi's degree.
According to the complainant, the accused individuals made "defamatory" statements during press conferences and on their Twitter handles, specifically targeting the university in relation to Modi's degree. The complainant alleged that these remarks were defamatory and caused harm to the institution's reputation, which has gained public recognition.
Comments on basis of which case was filed
The complainant cited various comments attributed to Kejriwal, including: "If there is a degree and it is genuine, then why is it not being given?", "They are not giving the degree because it might be fake," and "If the prime minister studied at Delhi University and Gujarat University, then Gujarat University should celebrate that its student became the country's PM."
Singh was quoted as saying that "they (GU) are trying to prove the PM's fake degree as genuine."
During the court inquiry, four witnesses were examined, and additional evidence was presented. The complainant's lawyer argued that the accused individuals' statements created a perception that Gujarat University issues counterfeit and fraudulent degrees.