The Supreme Court, while hearing a petition by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, said on Monday that “if you stoop public debate to this level, you will have to face the consequences.” Sisodia challenged that order of the Gauhati High Court. In which his petition seeking quashing of a criminal defamation case filed against him by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Vishwa Sharma was rejected. The defamation case was filed by the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi for leveling allegations of corruption against Sharma.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader withdrew it after the top court expressed reluctance to accept Sisodia’s plea against the high court’s November 4 order. Sharma has filed a criminal complaint for leveling baseless allegations of corruption against him (Sharma) in connection with supply of PPE kits to the National Health Mission (NHM) authorities during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic “at a rate higher than the market rate”. A defamation case was filed. The AAP leader had claimed that Sharma had placed supply orders to his wife’s company in 2020 when he was the health minister of the state. However, Sharma denied these allegations.
The matter came up for hearing on Monday before a bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice AS Oka. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Sisodia, said that the AAP leader had not said that any money was taken. “If you stoop to this level of public debate, you will have to face the consequences,” the bench said, adding that the petitioner should have tendered an unconditional apology earlier. Intimidation cannot be shown and the petitioner had never said that any money was taken.
The top court said, “You will have to face the consequences.” The bench said that the allegations were leveled during the pandemic. The top court said that instead of realizing the situation the country was going through during the pandemic, the petitioners were making allegations. Later, Singhvi withdrew the petition. Advocate Nalin Kohli, representing the Assam government, said after the hearing, “Essentially, while issuing summons, a court has to consider whether a prima facie case of defamation is made out in respect of false allegations.”
The high court had taken cognizance of a complaint filed by Sharma alleging that on June 4 this year, Sisodia made a defamatory statement against the Assam chief minister at a press conference in New Delhi, accusing him of being involved in corruption. . The court took cognizance of Sharma’s complaint about Sisodia, accusing him (Sharma) of corruption in awarding a government contract to his wife to buy PPE kits. It was alleged that such PPE kits were purchased from others for Rs 600 per unit, while the same was purchased from a company owned by Sharma’s wife at the rate of Rs 900 per kit.