A court in Thiruvananthapuram has summoned Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to appear before it in a defamation case filed by Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) took cognisance of the complaint and asked the minister to appear before it on May 2, Mr Tharoor's lawyer told the media.
Mr Tharoor in December 2018 filed a defamation case against Mr Prasad for allegedly making derogatory remarks in connection with his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death.
Mr Tharoor had earlier sent a legal notice to Mr Prasad, the minister for Law Justice and IT, seeking an "unconditional apology" for calling him a "murder accused."
Mr Tharoor has stated that the investigation in the Sunanda Pushkar case had been completed and the Delhi Police had filed a final report before the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate court, in which he was charge sheeted under Sections 308 and 498 A of the Indian Penal Code.
"The final report does not state that the death of the deceased was a murder," Mr Tharoor had said.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP and former Union minister said that on October 28 around 5.38 am, Prasad had posted a 2 minute 18 seconds video clip of his press conference, along with certain "false, untrue, malicious and highly defamatory statements on Twitter."
Mr Tharoor alleged that the video had been posted to defame him and thereby to "spread an untrue, false and scandalous imputation" against him that he is a "murder case" accused and that he had been charge-sheeted.
This was intended to "harm" his reputation and "malign" him before the public "by intentionally giving such false and untrue statements, the colour of his office, he had said.
"It is evident that the impugned post/tweet and the contents are solely intended to malign and tarnish the reputation of the complainant," he stated.
Mr Tharoor had sent a lawyer's notice to Mr Prasad, seeking an unconditional apology within 48 hours of the receipt of the notice, for levelling the allegations and to delete and remove the video clip of his press conference, along with defamatory statement on Twitter.
In his reply to the notice, Mr Prasad had defended his tweet, saying it was not defamatory.
According to the complainant, the offence against Mr Prasad constitutes the commission of offence defined under Section 499 of the IPC (defamation), which is punishable Under sections 500 (punishment for defamation). Mr Tharoor had sought appropriate action against Prasad.