Manish Sisodia plea to quash Assam defamation case rejected; to appear on Nov 19
Justice Kalyan Rai Surana underlined that the observations in his order were related to the Delhi deputy CM’s plea and the ongoing case should “be decided on its own merit”.
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court has rejected Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia plea to quash defamation proceedings filed against him by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma pending in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Kamrup district.
Assam’s advocate general Debajit Saikia said Sisodia will have to appear before the trial court on November 19 in view of the high court decision on Friday.
“In August, the CJM court issued summons to Sisodia directing him to appear in person on September 29. But the Delhi deputy CM approached the Gauhati HC seeking quashing of the proceedings in the court,” said Saikia.
“The HC held that the petitioner Sisodia has not been able to make any case for quashing the proceedings in CJM court. Therefore, in continuation of the earlier summons, Sisodia will have to appear before the court on November 19,” he added.
While deciding Sisodia’s petition, justice Kalyan Rai Surana underlined that the observations made in his order were related to the Delhi deputy CM’s plea and the ongoing case should “be decided on its own merit”.
The chief minister filed a criminal complaint against Sisodia in July this year, accusing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader of defamation under the Indian Penal Code for statements that accused Sarma of giving a contract for the purchase of over-priced PPE kits to a company in which his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and son were partners.
“The court had conducted a preliminary inquiry into the case and issued the summons to Sisodia after examining two witnesses on August 19. CM Sarma had also deposed before the court on August 5,” said Saikia.
Besides the criminal defamation suit, Sarma’s wife filed a civil defamation suit in June seeking ₹100 crore in damages from Sisodia in the court of Civil Judge Number 1 at Kamrup Metropolitan district.
Refuting the allegations made in a series of reports by portal thewire.in, Riniki Sarma issued a statement in June denying any wrong doing. She said that in the first week of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, not a single PPE kit was available in Assam and she tried to help by reaching out to a business acquaintance for delivery of about 1,500 PPE kits to NHM-Assam “with lot of effort”.
“I wrote to NHM to treat the same as part of my corporate social responsibility (CSR). I did not take a single penny out of this supply. I have always been transparent in my belief of giving back to society irrespective of my husband’s political standing,” her statement in June said.