New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to TV actress-turned-BJP MP Smriti Irani on a plea filed by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam for quashing the summons issued by a trial court on a defamation suit filed against him by her. Irani had filed a complaint against Nirupam for allegedly using "indecent language" during a television debate.
Justice Sunil Gaur, seeking response from Irani, also issued notice to the Delhi government for Aug 22. Nirupam sought quashing of Irani's complaint and a stay on the proceedings in the trial court.
While discussing the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections on a TV channel, Nirupam mocked the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rajya Sabha member by saying she had entered politics only some years ago. Nirupam challenged the summons issued March 11 by the trial court and said: "The magistrate without application of mind and contrary to law came to take cognizance on the said material to issue summons. The petitioner humbly submits that the very cognizance is bad in law."
The trial court Jan 8 had taken cognizance of the criminal defamation complaint filed by Irani against Nirupam for allegedly using "derogatory and indecent language". In his plea, the Congress leader contended that the magistrate "has erred in law to conclude defamation".
"The only witness who deposed made vague statements and did not give any positive evidence to constitute defamation," he said. "The debate was at the spur of the moment and the petitioner could not have harboured the intention to outrage the modesty, as concluded by the magistrate," the plea said.