Defamation case: SC to hear Delhi CM Kejriwal’s plea against summons on Monday

Defamation case: SC to hear Delhi CM Kejriwal’s plea against summons on Monday

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging a Delhi High Court order upholding the summons issued to him in a criminal defamation case for retweeting an allegedly defamatory video circulated by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee in May 2018. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta is likely to hear the matter in which Kejriwal has admitted that he “committed a mistake” by retweeting the alleged defamatory video.
On March 11, the top court asked Kejriwal whether he wanted to give an apology to the complainant in the matter.
Kejriwal on February 26 told the apex court that he made a mistake by retweeting an allegedly defamatory video circulated by YouTuber Rathee related to the BJP IT Cell.
The counsel appearing for complainant Vikas Sankrityayan has told the top court that Kejriwal may issue an apology on social media platforms like microblogging platform ‘X’ or Instagram.
On February 26, the apex court, without issuing notice on Kejriwal’s plea challenging the high court order, had asked the complainant whether he wanted to close the matter in view of the petitioner accepting it was a mistake.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, had said, “I can say this much that I made a mistake by retweeting.”
The top court had asked the trial court not to take up the defamation case involving Kejriwal till further orders.
In its February 5 verdict, the high court said that reposting alleged libellous content would attract the defamation law.
It said a sense of responsibility has to be attached while retweeting content about which one does not have knowledge and added that retweeting defamatory content must invite penal, civil as well as tort action if the person retweeting it does not attach a disclaimer.
The high court, while refusing to quash the trial court’s 2019 order summoning Kejriwal, had said when a public figure tweets a defamatory post, the ramifications extend far beyond a mere whisper in someone’s ears.
It had said if the act of retweeting or reposting is allowed to be misused as it is still considered to be a vacant grey area of law, it will encourage people with ill intentions to misuse it and conveniently take a plea that they had merely retweeted a content.
The chief minister had said in the high court that the trial court failed to appreciate that his tweet was not intended or likely to harm the complainant.
Sankrityayan claimed the YouTube video titled ‘BJP IT Cell Part II’ was circulated by Rathee, who lives in Germany, “wherein a number of false and defamatory allegations were made”.

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