The Supreme Court has declined to consider Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging a high court decision that denied his request to halt the criminal defamation proceedings initiated by Gujarat University.
The university had filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and AAP leader Sanjay Singh following their alleged remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualifications. The Gujarat High Court had set aside a Chief Information Commissioner’s order to provide information about Modi’s degrees under the RTI Act. The Supreme Court bench stated that it won’t issue notice as the matter is already pending before the Gujarat High Court.
The dispute arose after Gujarat University Registrar Piyush Patel filed a defamation case against Kejriwal and Singh for their alleged comments about Modi’s degrees after the Gujarat High Court’s decision on providing degree information under the RTI Act. The matter is scheduled for a hearing on August 29 before the Gujarat High Court. The bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti suggested that both Gujarat University and Kejriwal should address their concerns in the high court. Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi argued that the high court erred by not granting an interim stay on the defamation proceedings against Kejriwal.
The Gujarat High Court had previously rejected Kejriwal and Singh’s plea for an interim stay on the criminal defamation proceedings. A metropolitan court in Gujarat had summoned both leaders in connection with their comments regarding PM Modi’s degree. Although the sessions court denied their plea for an interim stay, they later approached the Gujarat High Court. The top court’s decision followed the Gujarat High Court’s rejection of Kejriwal and Singh’s request for an interim stay.
The case now awaits a hearing on August 31. Only Kejriwal challenged the August 11 high court order in the Supreme Court. The complaint by Patel contended that their comments were defamatory and harmed the university’s reputation.
The case arose from Kejriwal and Singh’s alleged “sarcastic” and “derogatory” statements about PM Modi’s degree at press conferences and on social media. The complaint stated that these remarks targeted the Gujarat University and were intentionally meant to damage its reputation. The Gujarat High Court had earlier set aside a 2016 Central Information Commission order, suggesting that Kejriwal’s RTI application seemed politically motivated rather than based on public interest. This case adds another layer to the ongoing legal matters surrounding Kejriwal’s remarks on PM Modi’s degree.