An Ahmedabad magistrate court on Saturday rejected an application moved by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh seeking that the trials be conducted separately against the two AAP leaders over the criminal defamation allegations by Gujarat University (GU) in relation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree.
The application was tendered after the Additional Magistrate Court of SJ Panchal turned down requests by the AAP leaders’ lawyer Bhavuk Chauhan to adjourn the trial proceedings for the day.
Chauhan cited the AAP leaders’ pending petitions before the Gujarat High Court where they are seeking the quashing of summons issued by the Ahmedabad magistrate court on April 15.
Gujarat University, the complainant represented by advocate Amit Nair, registered a “strong objection” against adjournment, adding that “all witnesses are present here today, including the complainant”.
Following the objections, Additional Magistrate Panchal also said that he could not stay the matter any further.
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Arguing for separation of trial, it was submitted by the AAP leaders that the two accused — Kejriwal and Singh — made the defamatory statements as alleged by GU on separate days, that the content of the said defamatory statements was different for the two accused, that the said content was uploaded on different handles of X, formerly Twitter, and were posted on social media on different days.
Submitting that the complainant has not invoked IPC sections 34 and 120B, that is charges of common intent and criminal conspiracy, while filing their complaint under IPC section 500, this would then deserve two separate trials against the two accused, while adding that allegations against Kejriwal cannot be read against Singh and vice-versa.
Meanwhile, Nair, on behalf of the varsity, submitted that the complainant is the same, the evidence and witnesses are the same against the two accused, and “separating trial would cause enormous damage, would cause inconvenience to the witnesses.”