Jharkhand high court calls for lower court records plea filed by Gandhi - Hindustan Times
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Jharkhand high court calls for lower court records plea filed by Gandhi

By, Ranchi
Jan 05, 2024 10:04 PM IST

The petition seeks to quash an order passed by a Ranchi district court in a defamation case filed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker over an alleged derogatory remark by Rahul Gandhi against Union home minister Amit Shah.

The Jharkhand high court on Friday sought the lower court records while directing to continue the no-coercive stay in a petition filed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Jharkhand high court sought the lower court records while directing to continue no-coercive stay in a petition filed by Rahul Gandhi (ANI)
Jharkhand high court sought the lower court records while directing to continue no-coercive stay in a petition filed by Rahul Gandhi (ANI)

The petition seeks to quash an order passed by a Ranchi district court in a defamation case filed by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker over an alleged derogatory remark by Gandhi against Union home minister Amit Shah.

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The complaint was filed by Navin Jha with the Ranchi court on April 28, 2018, based on a statement Gandhi made at his party’s plenary session on March 18, 2018.

After a brief hearing on Friday, justice Ambuj Nath’s bench called for the lower court record.

“The interim order preventing the lower court from proceeding until the matter is decided will continue. Arguments over the case’s merits will take place once the high court receives the lower court records and the matter is listed for hearing again,” Deepankar Roy, Gandhi’s counsel said.

In the complaint, Jha alleged that Gandhi’s statement was false and defamatory, claiming that “people of this country will accept a lying BJP leadership because they know what the BJP is designed for.”

Jha further alleged that “they will accept a man accused of murder as the president of the BJP, but the people would never accept the same in the Congress party.”

The complaint was initially dismissed by the sub-judicial magistrate on July 7, 2018.

However, the Ranchi judicial commissioner allowed the revision petition on September 15, 2018.

This directed the magistrate to re-examine the evidence on record and pass a fresh order to determine prima facie material for proceeding with the matter.

Consequently, the magistrate took cognizance on November 28, 2018, and issued the summons.

Gandhi then filed a petition in the high court to quash the revision order issued by the Ranchi judicial commissioner on September 15, 2018.

The matter was heard on May 16, 2023, before a single bench of justice Ambuj Nath.

During the previous hearing, Gandhi argued that the petitioner could not be considered an aggrieved person in the matter and lacked the standing to file the defamation case.

Other points related to the facts were also raised in the petition, citing several past judgments in defence, as stated by another lawyer involved in the proceedings.

However, the petitioner’s lawyer argued that as a BJP worker, Jha was an “identifiable person” and well within his rights to file the defamation case.

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