Ashutosh Opposes in HC Fresh Allegation of Jaitley

New Delhi
Ashutosh Opposes in HC Fresh Allegation of Jaitley

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh today moved Delhi High Court opposing fresh allegations made by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a defamation case against him and other party leaders to which they have been asked to respond.

The matter came up before a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and R K Gauba but Justice Ahmed recused from hearing it due to some undisclosed reason.

The AAP leader has challenged a single judge's April 29 order by which Jaitley's rejoinder to the replies of Arvind Kejriwal, Ashutosh and four others, who are party in the defamation suit, was allowed and in which the BJP leader has allegedly made a fresh allegation.

The single judge had sought further response from the AAP leaders to Jaitley's rejoinder.

The order had come on the AAP leaders' plea for striking off the allegedly new allegations levelled by Jaitley in his replication.

Ashutosh, represented by senior advocate H S Phoolka and advocate Piyush Kalra, has contended in his appeal that by granting him an opportunity to respond to the replication of Jaitley, the single judge has "tangentially acknowledged" that the allegations which had been objected to had been introduced for the first time by the BJP leader in his replication.

He has alleged in his plea that Jaitley "exploited the opportunity of filing replication for the purpose of introducing fresh allegations of defamation".

"In paragraph 4 and 11 of the preliminary submissions to the replication, respondent 1 (Jaitley) reproduced fresh set of alleged defamatory statements allegedly made by the appellant (Ashutosh) and respondent 2 to 6 (Kejriwal and others).

"It is submitted that the said statements never formed part of the plaint and were introduced for the first time," he has said in his appeal.

Ashutosh has also contended that the single judge "failed to appreciate that by introducing fresh pleas in the replication, respondent 1 was in fact amending his plaint without the leave of the court and without any opportunity being granted to the appellant to contest such an amendment".

The law does not permit any such subsequent pleading inconsistent with the original pleading to be taken on record and such pleadings are liable to be struck off and taken off from the court record, the appeal said.

Jaitley's lawyers had argued before the single judge that no fresh allegations were made in the replication and the documents were already there in the main plaint.

Jaitley in his civil defamation suit has sought Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal, Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai for issuing allegedly false and defamatory statements against him and his family in connection with alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he was its President for 13 years till 2013.

The union minister has already denied all the allegations.

The minister has filed a criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court on the same issue. The DDCA has also filed a criminal defamation suit against Kejriwal and suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad.

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