Court grants exemption to Kejriwal from personal appearance for day in defamation case

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) A court here on Wednesday granted exemption to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from personal appearance for the day in a criminal defamation case for retweeting an allegedly defamatory video circulated by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee in May 2018.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Tanya Bamniyal allowed the exemption plea moved by Kejriwal's counsel and directed him to appear before the court on February 29.

The plea claimed that the chief minister was busy with "budget sessions".

The Delhi High Court on February 5 had upheld the summons issued to Kejriwal by the trial court as an accused, saying that reposting alleged libelous content will attract the defamation law.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma had said that a sense of responsibility has to be attached while retweeting content about which one does not have knowledge. Retweeting of defamatory content must invite penal, civil as well as tort action if the person retweeting it does not attach a disclaimer, the high court had said.

The high court, while refusing to quash the trial court's 2019 order summoning Kejriwal, had said when a public figure tweets a defamatory post, the ramifications extend far beyond a mere whisper in someone's ears.

The chief minister had said that the trial court had failed to appreciate that his tweet was not intended or likely to harm complainant Vikas Sankrityayan.

The plea said the trial court erred in not providing any reasons for issuing the summons and the orders were 'ex-facie' devoid of judicial application of mind.

Sankrityayan claimed the YouTube video with the title 'BJP IT Cell Part II' was circulated by Rathee, who lives in Germany, "wherein a number of false and defamatory allegations were made". PTI UK UK ANB ANB