The Delhi session court has noted that the Supreme Court’s directions in Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay v. UOI and Anr. referring to expediting all cases involving MPs & MLAs and not just cases filed against them.
The trial court was addressing a matter concerning the transferring of MJ Akbar’s defamation case against Priya Ramani to some other court at the hindmost part of the proceedings. The matter came before this court after a long time span of 2 years for seeking orders to transfer the matter.
However, ACCMM-1 Vishal Pahuja citied the Supreme Court directions in the matter of Ashwani Kumar’s case to note that the Rouse Avenue Court which is a special court for MPs/MLAs cases, can only hear matters which are filed against the MPs/MLAs and not by the MPs/MLAs. And, the District & Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli noted that the word ‘involving’ or ‘with respect to’ in Supreme courts directions shall be interpreted to include not just cases which are filed against legislators, but all cases which involve MPs/MLAs.
While opposing the transfer of the case to a different court, Akbar’s Counsel and Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra has argued before the court that “Going by the underlying object of the said order of Hon’ble Supreme Court i.e. to clear the names of the MP/MLAs involved in any criminal cases or in any accusations of moral turpitude, the said case also deserves a priority to be tried by a designated Court ( i.e, this Special Court)”.
Further, she also contented that neither the Supreme Court directions nor the notification of the Delhi High Court, no other matters can be assigned to the said court and they cannot try any other case.
Considering all the facts, this court has observed that there’s a minor difference between the Supreme Court’s directions in the Ashwani vase and the Delhi High Court’s notification dated 23th March, 2018. As such, the former uses the word ‘involving’ or ‘with respect to’, but the latter noted that only cases filed ‘against’ the MPs/MLAs can be entertained.
Upon observation, the court remanded the case back to ACCMM-1 Vishal Pahuja for concluding the remaining proceedings. And also refused to transfer MJ Akbar’s criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani to any other court.