The Delhi High Court today imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Arvind Kejriwal after he failed to file his response to a fresh Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley over use of an objectionable word allegedly by the CM's lawyer.
Joint Registrar Pankaj Gupta directed the chief minister to deposit the cost while granting him two more weeks to file his response.
The high court had on May 23 sought the response of Kejriwal on why defamation proceedings should not be initiated against him.
However, Kejriwal's counsel Rishikesh Kumar had sought more time to file the response which was opposed by advocate Manik Dogra, counsel for the Union Minister.
Jaitley, who holds twin portfolios of Finance and Defence, had filed the second defamation suit after Kejriwal's lawyer Ram Jethmalani allegedly "abused" him in an open court during proceedings in another defamation suit he had filed against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and five other party functionaries.
During the cross-examination of the Union minister on May 17 before the Joint Registrar in the Delhi High Court, Jethmalani had allegedly used a term Jaitley had found objectionable.
A day after, another high court judge, who was hearing a connected matter, had termed as "scandalous" the remarks allegedly made by Jethmalani against Jaitley before the Joint Registrar.
Terming the word as not only "false, baseless, malicious and abusive, but per se defamatory", Jaitley, had told the court that he was "subjected to numerous questions, terminologies/statements that are ex-facie abusive, malicious, offensive, irrelevant and slanderous".
Jethmalani, who was expelled from the BJP for six years in 2013, had told the Joint Registrar that he used such words against Jaitley during the proceedings on the instructions of Kejriwal.
However, Kejriwal's counsel had submitted there was no such instruction.
The court proceedings had ended abruptly following heated exchanges between the lawyers of Jaitley and Kejriwal. Jaitley had then warned Jethmalani that he would aggravate the charges against Kejriwal.
The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.
Jaitley, who had rejected all allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore in damages from Kejriwal and five other others, claiming they made "false and defamatory" statements in the case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.
The AAP leaders had allegedly attacked Jaitley and some of his family members in various fora, including social media platforms, over alleged irregularities and financial bungling in the DDCA.
The five other AAP leaders accused in the first defamation case are Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai.
Besides the civil defamation suit, Jaitley has also filed a separate criminal defamation case in the trial court against the AAP leaders. (PTI)