The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea by Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, seeking to quash defamation proceedings against him initiated by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a local court in Assam.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka told senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing Sisodia: “If you reduce public debate to this level, you have to face the consequencesaa.
“Without paying heed to what country was facing, you make such statements,” it said.
Singhvi contended that his client nowhere said any money was taken. However, the apex court declined to grant any relief to Sisodia and added that he should have given an unconditional apology, then perhaps the situation would have been different. Singhvi emphasized that the petitioner had never said any money was taken.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar appeared for Assam CM and Assam’s Additional Advocate General Nalin Kohli appeared for the state government. After the bench showed its disinclination to entertain the plea, Sisodia withdrew it.
The Gauhati High Court dismissed Sisodia’s petition seeking quashing of the defamation case filed by Sarma over allegations of corruption levelled against him by Sisodia.
The Assam CM had filed a criminal defamation case against Sisodia for making “baseless” corruption allegations against him in connection with the supply of PPE kits at higher than market rates to the National Health Mission (NHM) authorities during the first wave of the Covid pandemic.
Sisodia had claimed that Sarma, the state Health Minister in 2020, had given the supply orders to the firm of his wife. Sarma has denied these allegations.
In its order, the high court had said: “In light of the discussions above, the court is of the considered opinion that the petitioner has not been able to make out any case for quashing of the proceedings of C.R. Case No. 81/2022 under sections 499/500 IPC, which is pending for disposal before the Court of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup (M) at Guwahati. Thus, this petition fails and the same is dismissed.”