The Delhi High Court has decided that the ongoing cross-examination of Arun Jaitley in the defamation suit filed by him will be transferred from the joint registrar to a court .
Ruling on an appeal filed by AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal, Justice Manmohan said the Union finance minister’s cross examination will be done by a single judge of the high court.
The date of hearing for the case has been set for February 12 before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw for the recording of Jaitley’s evidence.
Cross-Examination Deadline No Longer Applicable
The judge has further said the joint registrar’s order which directed Kejriwal to finish up Jaitley’s cross-examination on February 12 was not applicable as the court will now decide regarding the time frame and the questions put to the Union minister.
The senior BJP leader has been already cross-examined before the joint registrar on nine earlier occasions.
Jaitley has filed a Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Kejriwal plus five other AAP leaders for alleging financial irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) of which Jaitley was the president from 1999 to 2013.
Apart from Kejriwal AAP leaders Raghav Chadha, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai have been named as defendants. All of them have denied all the allegations of defamation.
Appeal Against Joint Registrar Order
The court accepted the delegation of the cross-examination to the single judge after the counsel for Jaitley and Kejriwal agreed to it and directed that the trial be carried on in “a fair, time-bound and speedy manner”
The court also observed that some of the questions put to Jaitley by the defendant Kejriwal in one of the sessions “were not required.”
The court’s direction came while hearing Kejriwal’s challenge of the joint registrar’s February 2 order asking him to finish Jaitley’s cross-examination on February 12 itself. The joint registrar had further directed that Kejriwal would be given no more dates for further cross-examination of the Union minister.
Kejriwal’s advocate Anupam Srivastava, challenged this order stating that they were recording the evidence in a “dignified manner”, and were putting only relevant questions to the finance minister.
He further contended that the joint registrar had committed an error by restricting their right to cross examine Jaitley.
Just An Excuse To Stall Case
Appearing for Jaitley senior counsel Sandeep Sethi and advocate Manik Dogra, opposed the counsel’s argument and pointed out that the Union Minister had been crossed examined on nine occasions and has faced almost 275 questions.
Sethi further noted with five more defendants remaining, “this case will never end”, and said it was “their attempt to stall the proceedings.”
The judge accepted the submission of Jaitley’s counsel, but noted that it was reasonable to give them some time.