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Arun Jaitley defamation suit: Can't defame complainant again, says Delhi High Court


Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal may have to face a second defamation case after the Delhi high court on Thursday slammed as "scandalous" some remarks his lawyer Ram Jethmalani have made against Arun Jaitley.

"If such allegations have been made on instructions of the defendant number 1 (Kejriwal), then no point in continuing with cross-examination of the plaintiff (Arun Jaitley) any more".

During the proceedings, Jethmalani and some lawyers defending the AAP leaders contended that Jaitley was not entitled to Rs 10 crore damages he has sought from Kejriwal and others.

Jaitley's lawyers raised the issue before Justice Manmohan, arguing that they want a clarification from Kejriwal as to whether the word used by Jethmalani was on the Chief Minister's instruction or in lawyer's personal capacity. Let Defendant 1 make good his allegations.

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The remarks in question were made by Jethmalani during his cross examination in a civil defamation suit filed by the Union Minister.

The court observation came after Jaitley's lawyer apprised it that Jethmalani had used the word "crook" against the Finance Minister during his cross-examination on Wednesday before a Joint Registrar.

If on the other hand, Mr Jethmalani had on his own made the remark, then it would be a violation of the Bar Council of India rules, he said. "Let him step into the box", the judge said. "It's unpleasant", Justice Manmohan said and added that "cross (examination) should be carried out in accordance with law".

"What is to be done when such scandalous remarks are made?"

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The remarks were made yesterday by Jethmalani when Jaitley was being cross-examined in the Rs 10-crore civil defamation case filed by him against Kejriwal.

Five AAP leaders - Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai - along with Kejriwal are also facing a criminal defamation case filed by Jaitley on the same issue.

The term angered Jaitley and heated exchange followed between the duo and between their legal teams, forcing the court to adjourn the fourth round of cross-examination for July 28 and 30. The issue cropped up before Justice Manmohan who was hearing an application moved by Chadha for making amendments in his written submission filed in reply to Jaitley's plea. The amendment application was listed before another bench by the court on May 26.

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