A Delhi court today acquitted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a criminal defamation case filed by a former aide of Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, saying that the complainant cannot be said to be an "aggrieved person".
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted relief to Mr Kejiriwal in the case lodged by Pawan Khera, the political secretary of Ms Dikshit when she was the chief minister, for remarks allegedly made against her by the AAP leader in a television show during power tariff hike protests in October 2012 .
Mr Khera had alleged that Arvind Kejriwal used "false and defamatory" accusations against Ms Dikshit, which also harmed his reputation since he was associated with her.
The court said Mr Khera was not named by Mr Kejriwal and there was no specific legal injury to his reputation.
"The complainant is not a person aggrieved in this case, the words prima facie not defamatory of the complainant and the alleged interview has not been proved as per law. Therefore, this complaint of defamation filed by him is not maintainable," it said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also welcomed the acquittal and said that political battles should be fought on political platforms only and not in courts.
The court had framed charges against Mr Kejriwal under Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code in October 2018.
If convicted, the politician could have been sent to a maximum two year jail term.
In his complaint, Mr Khera had alleged that Mr Kejriwal had defamed him and he spoke the defamatory word with an intention to harm his reputation.
Advocate Mohd Irshad, appearing for Mr Kejriwal, had told the court that Mr Khera was not a member of the Congress nor he has disclosed in clear terms his relationship with Ms Dikshit.
He had submitted that Mr Kejriwal had not said anything against the political secretary.
Mr Kejriwal had opposed the complaint on the grounds that it has been filed by Mr Khera and not by Ms Dikshit herself.
According to the complaint, in October 2012, Mr Kejriwal had organised several protests against "power tariff hike in the national capital and had accused the then Delhi government of stalling Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission's move to cut power tariff by 23 per cent in 2010".