Delhi Oppn Leader Moves HC Challenging Summon Issued On DJB’s Complaint

New Delhi: Delhi BJP MLA and opposition leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri has approached the high court challenging the summon order passed by a lower court against him and two other BJP leaders on a defamation complaint filed by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha over their remarks over an alleged multi-crore scam in the board.

In the petition, filed through advocates Neeraj and Satya Ranjan Swain, Bidhuri said being the opposition leader in the national capital, he was at the forefront of exposing the irregularities in the functioning of the city government. It is essential for the opposition party in a democracy to highlight them and this process balances a democratic system, he said.

On November 18, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh of Rouse Avenue district court held that there were sufficient ground for proceedings against the respondents — Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, MLA from Badarpur; Vijender Gupta, MLA from Rohini; and BJP’s Delhi unit media relations in-charge and spokesperson Harish Khurana — to summon them under Sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 33 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

However, no notice or summon from any of the investigating agency has been sent to the law office of the board with respect to the allegations made by the respondents. Chadha stated that he was informed about this by the office of the law consultant, Delhi Jal Board.

The order said that in view of the allegations made in the complaint, testimonies, and material brought on record by them, this court is prima facie satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for the summoning of all the respondents.

As per the complaint, on January 21 this year, a press conference was held by the BJP leaders wherein allegations were levelled against the board that it has committed a scam of Rs 26,000 crore. In the defamation suit moved through advocate Prashant Manchanda, the complainant alleged that the BJP leaders referred to the board as ‘Dalali Jal Board’.

The respondents also made defamatory statements on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and print media, which were widely shared by the official page of Delhi BJP on Twitter. It is alleged that defamatory content spoken and disseminated by the respondents also found a prominent place in numerous Hindi newspapers.

It was also live telecast on the official Facebook page of Delhi BJP, the DJB alleged in its complaint.