Court Issues Notice to Sisodia, Gopal on Contempt Plea

A Delhi court today issued notices to Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai on a contempt plea seeking action against them for their statements regarding the court order sending Arvind Kejriwal to judicial custody.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha sought response from Sisodia and Rai on the plea filed by advocate Pankaj Mendiratta, who alleged that they had made "contemptuous statements" suggesting that the court process in the defamation case against Kejriwal was "not judicious and in accordance with law but was a result of change in political scenario".

The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on July 11.

In his plea, Mendiratta alleged that Sisodia and Rai have caste "serious aspersions upon the independence of the court giving an impression that the order passed by this court was an after effect of change in government at the Centre thereby undermining and scandalising the judicial process."

The petitioner also alleged that on May 21, when Kejriwal was remanded to judicial custody after he refused to furnish the bail bond in connection with a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, he had seen and heard some "contemptuous statements" by Sisodia and Rai.

"The above statement made on May 21 unambiguously have sent a wrong message to the public at large that the process so adopted by this court was not judicious and in accordance with law but was a result of change in political scenario," the petition said.

The petitioner also claimed that Sisodia and Rai have "clearly conveyed that the courts are not independent and the change in the attitude of the court is at the behest of change in political scenario".

Former Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal was sent to judicial custody by a magistrate on May 21 for two days. On May 23, his custody was extended by 14 days till June 6 after he refused to furnish a bail bond when he was granted bail in the case.

"The contemnors (Sisodia and Rai) through their statements tried to convey to the people that the administration of justice is weak and is in the hands of the ruling government," the petition claimed, adding that, these statements have brought the court into "disrepute" and "disrespect."

The petition alleged, "in view of the above facts and circumstances, it is most respectfully prayed that the court may be pleased to pass on order thereby making a reference to the High Court of Delhi for taking action for contempt of court against the said contemnors."

The magistrate had refused to review its May 21 order remanding Kejriwal in judicial custody for not furnishing the bail bond and had asked him to approach the higher court.

Kejriwal was earlier summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader, who had included his name in the party's list of "India's most corrupt".

On May 21, the court had granted bail to Kejriwal in the defamation complaint, saying the offence under Section 500 of IPC was bailable and had asked him to furnish a personal bond.

He, however, was taken into custody after he refused to give the bail bond, saying the case was politically motivated and he does not wish to seek bail. He had said that he was ready to give an undertaking that he would appear in the court whenever required.

The court had on February 28 summoned Kejriwal as an accused in the case, observing that statements allegedly made by the AAP leader have the effect of "harming the reputation" of the complainant.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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