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Journalist Swati Chaturvedi's petition

Journalist Swati Chaturvedi's petition

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Journalist Swati Chaturvedi's petition

  1. 1. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF: - SWATI CHATURVEDI …. PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …. RESPONDENT INDEX S. No. PARTICULARS Page No. 1. Notice of Motion 2. Court Fee 3. Memo of Parties 4. Synopsis & List of Dates 5. Criminal Misc along with Affidavit 6. Annexure P-1: A copy of the tweet by the respondent on assault of Mr.Prashant Bhushan dated 12.10.2011 7. Annexure P-2: A copy of chargesheet filed in FIR No. 182/2011 dated 2011 8. Annexure P-3: A copy of news reports and tweets dated 2011 9.1. Annexure P-4: A copy of tweets accusing respondent for sexual harassment by Dr Jwala Gurunath dated nil 10. Annexure P-5: A copy of the complaint made by Dr. Jwala Gurunath dated 01.01.2016 and the email written by Dr. Jwala Gurunath to the petitioner dated xx 11. Annexure P-6: A copy of the interview of respondent dated nil 12. Annexure P-7: A copy of the said judgment dated 14.07.2016 of the Karnataka High Court 13. Annexure P-8: A copy of the announcement
  2. 2. made by Delhi BJP on 14.03.2017 14. Annexure P-9: A copy of the said tweet of the petitioner dated 15.03.2017 15. Annexure P-10: A copy of the complaint lodged with the Commissioner of Police, New Delhi against the petitioner dated 16.03.2017 16. Annexure P-11: A copy of news reports and tweets dated nil 17. Annexure P-12: A copy of the said criminal complaint no. 44490/2017 before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi filed by the respondent dated 18.03.2017 18. Annexure P-13: A copy of the order dated 17.05.2018 passed by Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate 19. Annexure P-14: A copy of article on the Book titled ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital army’ dated 22.12.2016 20. Application under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C for stay of proceeding before the trial court during the pendency of the petition 21. Application under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C for exemption from filing the certified copies of the annexures 22. Application for permission to file dim copy/ short font/ illegible annexures 23. Vakalatnama on behalf of the Petitioner. Petitioner: Through: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  3. 3. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF: - SWATI CHATURVEDI …. PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …. RESPONDENT NOTICE OF MOTION Sir, Please find enclosed herewith a complete set of Writ Petition which is being filed by the petitioner and the same is likely to be list on _____________ or soon thereafter. Copy to: 1. Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga S/o Shri Preet Pal Singh Spokesperson, Delhi BJP 14, Pandit Pant Marg New Delhi-110001 Petitioner Through: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  4. 4. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF: - SWATI CHATURVEDI …. PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …. RESPONDENT URGENT APPLICATION To, The Registrar, Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, New Delhi Sir, Kindly treat the accompanying petition as urgent. The ground of urgency is that the matter is listed for hearing on12.07.2018 as the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts has summoned the petitioner for offences punishable under Section 499, 500 and 501 IPC. Kindly list this matter before the Hon’ble Court urgently. Petitioner Through: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  5. 5. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF:- SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENT MEMO OF PARTIES 1. Swati Chaturvedi W/o Shri Manasije Mishra R/o XXXX …PETITIONER VERSUS 1. Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga S/o Shri Preet Pal Singh Spokesperson, Delhi BJP 14, Pandit Pant Marg New Delhi-110001 …RESPONDENT Petitioner Through: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  6. 6. SYNOPSIS AND LIST OF DATES That the present petition is being filed under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking quashing of the complaint (being Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017) filed by the Respondent herein under Section 200 of Cr.P.C. for initiating the proceedings under Section 499, 500 and 501 of IPC against the Petitioner herein. This petition also seeks quashing of the summoning order dated 17.05.2018 passed by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled as “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi”. Respondent with an ulterior motive to harass the petitioner has filed a defamation case against her, as she wrote an investigative book titled ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital army’ targeting respondent and his political party. In her book she uncovers the systemic abuse and attacks made by the BJP affiliated persons on the social networking websites. The Petitioner has illustrated respondent in the book as a BJP’s Internet warrior who graduated from online abuse to actual violence. Her book has been widely acclaimed and praised internationally and nationally. The petitioner has been consistently exposing the wrong doings of the government and the ruling party in her books and her writings over the last 20 years. However, till date she has not faced any defamation or other criminal charges throughout her career as an investigative journalist. Petitioner through her Twitter handle i.e. @bainjal was commenting on the conduct of the ruling party in appointment of a spokesperson of low credentials as that of the respondent while tweeting that “Now the man who beat up @pbhushan1 was arrested in a sexual harassment case speaks for @BJP4India. Good job” dated 15.03.2017. Petitioner had only remarked on the conduct of the ruling party herein BJP in appointment of a person as their spokesman who had criminally assaulted an advocate and who had been involved in a sexual harassment case. The tweet was targeted at the BJP and not respondent per se. The tweet was also based on nothing but truth and in good faith as this petition shows. The
  7. 7. tweet was a step towards accountability of the functioning of the ruling party BJP and to alert the public about its conduct. The tweet was thus in public interest. Petitioner’s tweet is nothing but truth and it had two parts: a) referring to Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s assault case; and b) referring to involvement in a sexual harassment case. As far as the first part is concerned, i.e. assault on Mr. Bhushan, the respondent had himself claimed credit for the same using his twitter handle and has also been arrested and charge-sheeted by the Delhi Police. The respondent is out on bail and the trial is still going on. For the respondent to expect that no one would comment on his case till the trial is completed and he is convicted, would mean that public would have to wait for another 7-10 years before they can accuse the respondent of the crime. As far as the second part of the petitioner’s tweet is concerned, the same was a reference to the accusation of sexual harassment made by Dr Jwala Gurunath in January 2016. It is pertinent to mention here that respondent in one of his print interview has even tried to defend himself of sexual harassment case (Annexure P6). An FIR was also lodged against the respondent for sexual harassment by Dr. Jwala Gurunath. Her accusations have been reported in media and have been commented on Twitter by various prominent persons, but the respondent has chosen not file any defamation complaint against them. Further, he has also not filed any defamation complaint against Dr. Gurunath. Petitioner made a legitimate comment on public conduct of a political party and their spokesperson. Petitioner’s tweet was manifestly and ex-facie based on truth and made in public interest. Thus, the complaint of the respondent is clearly bad in law and is only filed to harass the petitioner. There is no right to reputation against truth. Truth triumphs any claim for damaged reputation. Truth and public interest are clear statutorily recognized defenses to defamation under the IPC. Clear exception is provided in Section 499 IPC which protects petitioner against the charges of defamation. Thus, ex-facie the offence of defamation is not made out since the petitioner’s tweet is clearly covered by above clear
  8. 8. exceptions in built in the very definition of defamation as provided in Section 499 IPC. It is also pertinent to mention here that respondent has not filed defamation case against any other person who have expressed similar opinions. The respondent specifically targeted the petitioner, using her tweet as an excuse, in order to harass her using the legal process by filing a mala fide complaint. Hence this petition. Date Particulars 12.10.2011 The respondent along with two others trespassed and assaulted advocate Prashant Bhushan in his Supreme Court chamber. After the attack, Bhushan was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where doctors said that he had received injuries on his head and leg. Respondent had tweeted few hours before the assault that "God give us power to complete our mission." After the assault, the respondent claimed credit for the assault exulting, “He try to break my nation, I try to break his head. Hisab chukta. Congrats to all. Operation Prashant Bhushan successful." In another tweet he posted: "We hit Prashant Bhushan hard in his chamber in Supreme Court. If you will try to break my nation, I will break your heads.” An FIR (182/2011) was registered at Tilak Marg Police Station on the same date and one of the accused Inder Verma was arrested. 13.10.2011 The respondent was arrested by the Delhi Police along with another accused Vishnu Gupta for the assault of Mr. Prashant Bhushan. 2011 Chargesheet was filed by the Delhi Police against the three accused including the respondent under Sections 452, 323, 120(B) and 34 of the IPC for the
  9. 9. brutal assault on Mr. Prashant Bhushan. 01.01.2016 A complaint was lodge by one Dr. Jawala Gurunath with the Karnataka Police against the respondent for sexual harassment and insult to her caste identity. She accused the respondent of making an indecent proposal by calling her nearly 33 times. Dr. Jwala Gurunath, subsequently, on Twitter (using her handle @DrJwalaG) repeatedly accused the respondent of sexual harassment, by stating ‘calling 33 times in a night for a stay with women who lives alone’, ‘wanting to stay overnight’, ‘atrocity’, ‘absconding from the police’, ‘molester’, ‘wanted criminal’, ‘road side goon’, ‘shameless moron’ etc. She has addressed these tweets to prominent persons including the Prime minster, Home ministry, Delhi Police, Bangalore police and to the public at large. Similar comments made on twitter by other persons. It is pertinent to mention here that respondent has opted not to lodge any defamation case against Dr. Jwala Gurunath. 08.01.2016 An FIR 3/2016 was registered by the Karnataka Police at Kalburgi, Karnataka on the complaint of Dr. Jwala Gurunath against the respondent. The case was subsequently transferred to Bangaluru. Crime No. 32/2016 was registered by Bangaluru Police under Section 3 of SC&ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000. Though the complainant had alleged harassment by the respondent, the FIR did not mention the sections in IPC relating to sexual harassment. 14.07.2016 Ld. Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in a petition filed by the respondent herein under Section 482 CrPC quashed proceedings in Crime
  10. 10. No. 32/16 of Kumaraswamy Layout police station, Bengaluru on the ground that the complainant (Dr. Jawala Gurunath) had not disclosed in her complaint that the respondent was not a member of SC/ST and that he had intentionally insulted her with an intent to humiliate in public view. The learned single judge also observed that the Hon’ble Supreme Court had already struck down Section 66A of the IT Act and therefore, the said offence was not attracted. 14.03.2017 The respondent was appointed by the BJP as their spokesperson for the Delhi State unit of the party. 15.03.2017 The petitioner through her Twitter handle @bainjal tweeted: “Now the man who beat up @pbhushan1 was arrested in a sexual harassment case speaks for @BJP4India. Good job”. The petitioner was commenting on the conduct of the ruling party in appointing a spokesperson of the credentials of the respondent. 18.03.2017 The respondent filed a criminal complaint no. 44490/2017 before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi under Section 200 of the CrPC against the petitioner for having allegedly committed offences under section 499, 500 and 501 of the IPC. In the said complaint the respondent stated that the case of assault of Mr. Prashant Bhushan is sub-judice and also falsely stated that he had never been accused of sexual harassment, and therefore the tweet of the petitioner herein is defamatory. 17.05.2018 Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts was pleased to summon the petitioner for offences punishable under Section 499, 500 and 501 IPC to appear before her on 12.07.2018. .07.2018 Hence the instant petition under Section 482 CrPC
  11. 11. seeking quashing of the complaint and the summoning order. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF: - SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONERS VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENTS PETITION UNDER SECTION 482 OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE, 1973 SEEKING QUASHING OF CRIMINAL COMPLAINT CASE NO. 44490 OF 2017 FILED UNDER SECTION 200 OF CR.P.C. FOR INITIATING THE PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTION 499, 500 AND 501 OF IPC AS WELL AS SUMMONING ORDER DATED 17.05.2018 ISSUED BY LD. METROPOLITAN MAGISTRATE-6, PATIALA HOUSE COURTS, NEW DELHI IN THE AFOREMENTIONED COMPLAINT CASE TITLE AS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA VS. SWATI CHATURVEDI The Petitioners above-named most respectfully submit as under: - 1. That the present petition is being filed under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking quashing of the complaint (being Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017) filed by the Respondent herein under Section 200 of Cr.P.C. for initiating the proceedings under Section 499, 500 and 501 of IPC against the Petitioner herein. This petition also seeks quashing of the summoning order dated 17.05.2018 passed by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled as “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi”. The petitioner
  12. 12. 2. The petitioner is a journalist of high repute, standing and eminence. She has worked with various newspapers and channels like The Statesman, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Tribune, NDTV.com, TheWire.in etc. She is the author of several books. Her investigative stories have exposed the wrong acts of various governments and political parties over the last 20 years. She has not faced any defamation or other charges throughout her career as an investigative journalist. 3. Petitioner’s investigative book ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital army’ reveals the systemic abuse and attack by BJP affiliated persons on the Internet. The respondent has been named as an example in the book as a BJP’s Internet warrior who graduated from online abuse to actual violence. Her book has been widely acclaimed and praised internationally and nationally. She has also been writing investigative stories and editorial comments exposing the wrongdoings of the current government and the party in power. 4. Petitioner is the accused in the complaint dated 18.03.2017 filed by the respondent herein under Section 200 CrPC alleging that he has been defamed by the petitioner. Petitioner has been summoned by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate on the basis of the said complaint vide order dated 17.05.2018. The respondent 5. The respondent is an accused in the brutal attack on lawyer Mr. Prashant Bhushan, for which he had himself claimed
  13. 13. responsibility. He had been arrested and charge-sheeted by the Delhi Police, and is currently out on bail. 6. The respondent in 2010 had attacked the car of one Kashmiri leader in Delhi, in 2011 he had disrupted Ms. Arundhati Roy’s book launch in Delhi and in 2012 he had heckled a Kashmiri Hurriyat leader in Delhi. Respondent has been extremely active on micro-blogging website Twitter and other social media targeting critics of the BJP. Respondent has been appointed BJP spokesperson for Delhi unit. 7. The respondent had been accused of sexual harassment by Dr. Jwala Gurunath in a police complaint. She alleged that the respondent had made an indecent proposal by calling her 25 times to stay over her place. A FIR was registered by the Karnataka police. However, no offence relating to sexual harassment was invoked by the police in the FIR with the result that Ld. Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court quashed the FIR. Brief Facts 8. The respondent along with two others on 12.10.2011 had trespassed and assaulted advocate Prashant Bhushan in his Supreme Court chamber. After the attack, Bhushan was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where doctors said that he had received minor injuries on his head and leg. Hours before the assault the respondent had tweeted. "God give us power to complete our mission." After the assault, the respondent claimed credit for the assault exulting, “He try to break my nation, I try to break his head. Hisab chukta. Congrats to all. Operation Prashant Bhushan
  14. 14. successful." In another tweet he posted: "We hit Prashant Bhushan hard in his chamber in Supreme Court. If you will try to break my nation, I will break your heads.” A copy of the tweet by the respondent on assault of Mr.Prashant Bhushan dated 12.10.2011 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-1 (pages _____). 9. An FIR (182/2011) was registered at Tilak Marg Police Station on the same date, i.e. 12.10.2011 and one of the accused Inder Verma was arrested. On the next date, the respondent was arrested by the Delhi Police along with another accused Vishnu Gupta for the assault of Mr. Prashant Bhushan. A chargesheet was later filed by the Delhi Police against the three accused including the respondent under Sections 452, 323, 120(B) and 34 of the IPC for the brutal assault on Mr. Prashant Bhushan. A copy of chargesheet filed in FIR No. 182/2011 dated 2011 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-2 (pages _____). 10. That this incident was tweeted and retweeted on several accounts by various people. Even all the media houses in the country covered this episode. However, the respondent has chosen not to take any defamation action against any one of these people. Where as in the criminal defamation complaint against the petitioner with the motive to harass her, respondent pleads that no one would comment on his case till the trial is completed and he is convicted. A copy of news reports and tweets dated 2011 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-3 (Colly) (pages _____).
  15. 15. 11. Between 02.01.2016 and 08.06.2017, Dr Jwala Gurunath on twitter (@DrJwalaG) repeatedly accused the respondent of sexual harassment for calling her 33 times in a night for wanting to stay overnight. She has addressed these tweets to prominent persons including the Prime minster, Home ministry, Delhi Police, Bangalore police and to the public at large. Similar comments made on twitter by other persons. A copy of tweets accusing respondent for sexual harassment by Dr Jwala Gurunath dated nil is annexed and marked as Annexure P- 4 (Colly) (pages _____). 12. A police complaint was lodged by Dr. Jawala Gurunath on 01.01.2016 with the Karnataka Police against the respondent for sexual harassment and insult to her caste identity. In her letter to the police, Dr Gurunath has accused the respondent of making an indecent proposal by calling her nearly 25 times. On 08.01.2016, an FIR 3/2016 was registered by the Karnataka Police at Kalburgi, Karnataka on the complaint of Dr. Jwala Gurunath against the respondent. The case was subsequently transferred to Bangaluru. Crime No. 32/2016 was registered by Bangaluru Police under Section 3 of SC&ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000. Though the complainant had alleged harassment by the respondent, the FIR did not mention the sections in IPC relating to sexual harassment. 13. It is pertinent to mention here that Dr. Jwala Gurunath even wrote to the petitioner via email informing about the sexual harassment incident. So, it is safe to say that
  16. 16. petitioner only tweeted what is already in the public domain. A copy of the complaint made by Dr. Jwala Gurunath dated 01.01.2016 and the email written by Dr. Jwala Gurunath to the petitioner dated xx is annexed and marked as Annexure P-5 (pages _____). 14. Respondent even tried to defend himself in one the print interview. Hence for the respondent to state in the present complaint that he has never been accused of sexual harassment case is in toto false and fabricated. A copy of the interview of respondent dated nil is annexed and marked as Annexure P-6 (pages _____). 15. Ld. Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in a petition filed by the respondent herein under Section 482 CrPC, vide judgment dated 14.07.2016, quashed proceedings in Crime No. 32/16 of Kumaraswamy Layout police station, Bengaluru on the ground that the complainant (Dr. Jawala Gurunath) had not disclosed in her complaint that the respondent was not a member of SC/ST and that he had intentionally insulted her with an intent to humiliate in public view. The learned single judge also observed that the Hon’ble Supreme Court had already struck down Section 66A of the IT Act and therefore, the said offence was not attracted. A copy of the said judgment dated 14.07.2016 of the Karnataka High Court is annexed as and marked as Annexure P-7 (pages _____). 16. On 14.03.2017, the respondent was appointed by the BJP as their spokesperson for the Delhi State unit of the party.
  17. 17. A copy of the announcement made by Delhi BJP on 14.03.2017 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-8 (pages _____). 17. On 15.03.2017, the petitioner through her Twitter handle i.e. @bainjal was commenting on the code of conduct of the ruling party in appointment of a spokesperson of low credentials as that of the respondent while tweeting that “Now the man who beat up @pbhushan1 was arrested in a sexual harassment case speaks for @BJP4India. Good job” dated 15.03.2017. Petitioner had only remarked on the code of conduct of the ruling party herein BJP in appointment of a person as their spokesman who had criminally assaulted an advocate and who had been involved in a sexual harassment case. The tweet was targeted at the BJP and not respondent per se. The tweet was also based on nothing but truth and in good faith as this petition shows. The tweet was a step towards accountability of the functioning of the ruling party BJP and to alert the public about its code of conduct. The tweet was thus in public interest. A copy of the said tweet of the petitioner dated 15.03.2017 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-9 (pages _____). 18. That the respondent lodged a complaint with the Commissioner of Police, New Delhi against the petitioner for defamation under section 499, 500 and 501 of the IPC for tweeting through her twitter handle. The relevant paragraph is reproduced herein below:
  18. 18. “I wish to inform you that the contents of aforesaid tweet are out rightly false, frivolous and concoted as primarily I am not involved in beating up of advocate Prashant Bhushan, and moreover the said case being sub judice can not be attributed to me. Secondly, I was never ever arrested or accused of any case pertaining to sexual harassment or similar offence. The said tweet is intentional attempt to defame me and cause harm to my name and reputation, on personal or on behest of someone else.” A copy of the complaint lodged with the Commissioner of Police, New Delhi against the petitioner dated 16.03.2017 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-10 (pages _____). 19. Since this matter came in public domain, numerous publically influential persons have commented on it, including on the character of the respondent. The respondent also chose not to file any complaint against them. The respondent specifically targeted the petitioner, using her tweet as an excuse, in order to harass her using the legal process by filing a mala fide complaint. This has been clearly done to further his political career within the BJP since he knows that his party has been adversely commented upon by the petitioner in her numerous articles. Thus it can be inferred that only the petitioner has been specifically targeted to silence her voice. It is also to be noted that the petitioner has never been accused of defamation in her career spanning over 20 years. A copy of news reports and tweets dated nil is annexed and marked as Annexure P- 11 (Colly) (pages _____). 20. The respondent on 18.03.2017 filed a criminal complaint no. 44490/2017 before the Additional Chief Metropolitan
  19. 19. Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi under Section 22 of the CrPC against the petitioner for having allegedly committed offences under section 499, 500 and 501 of the IPC. In the said complaint the respondent stated that the case of assault of Mr. Prashant Bhushan is sub-judice and also falsely stated that he had never been accused of sexual harassment, and therefore the tweet of the petitioner herein is defamatory. A copy of the said criminal complaint no. 44490/2017 before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi filed by the respondent dated 18.03.2017 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-12 (pages _____). 21. Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts, vide order dated 17.05.2018, was pleased to summon the petitioner for offences punishable under Section 499, 500 and 501 IPC to appear before her on 12.07.2018. The relevant paragraph is reproduced herein below: “… The Complainant is aggrieved that y the aforesaid false frivolous and concocted tweet, the accused has injured the reputation of the complainant who himself at the time had a following more than two lacs users. It is averred that the allegations are not well founded as the incident pertaining to Sh. Prashant Bhushan is sub judice and the complainant was never accused of sexual harassment.” A copy of the order dated 17.05.2018 passed by Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate is annexed and marked as Annexure P-13(pages _____). 22. That the Petitioner has written an investigative book titled ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital
  20. 20. army’ which uncovers the systemic abuse and attack made by the BJP affiliated persons on the social networking websites. The Petitioner has illustrated respondent in the book as a BJP’s Internet warrior who graduated from online abuse to actual violence. Her book has been widely acclaimed and praised internationally and nationally. A copy of article on the Book titled ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital army’ dated 22.12.2016 is annexed and marked as Annexure P-14(pages _____). The tweet 23. Twitter is a micro-blogging website in which millions of people post their views/comments, share news/information etc. Twitter is part of social media with multiple interactions daily. At the time of the petitioner’s tweet for which the respondent has filed the complaint, the maximum length of a tweet permitted was 140 characters or less, a length which is hardly enough to form one full sentence. 24. The petitioner has a popular twitter handle namely ‘@bainjal’ and has been commenting on daily happenings for several years now. She currently has about 1,12,000 followers and has tweeted about 58000 times over several years. This pattern is consistent with all popular twitter handles belonging to journalists. 25. The petitioner, through one of her tweets posted on 15.03.2017, had commented on the code of conduct and the state of the ruling party that they appoint a person as their spokesman who has criminally assaulted a senior
  21. 21. lawyer and who has been involved in a sexual harassment case. The tweet was targeted at the BJP and not the respondent per se. The tweet was also based on nothing but truth and in good faith as this petition shows. The tweet was a step towards accountability of the functioning of the ruling party BJP and to alert the public about its conduct. The tweet was thus in public interest. 26. The tweet had two parts: a) referring to Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s case and b) referring to involvement in a sexual harassment case. As far as the first part is concerned, i.e. assault on Mr. Bhushan, the same is reported extensively by a large section of the media, both on the date of assault as well as afterwards. The respondent had himself claimed credit for the same using his twitter handle. The respondent was arrested and charge-sheeted by the Delhi Police. The respondent is out on bail and the trial is still going on. For the respondent to expect that no one would comment on his case till the trial is completed and he is convicted, would mean that public would have to wait for another 7-10 years before they can accuse the respondent of the crime. 27. As far as the second part of the petitioner’s tweet is concerned, the same was a reference to the accusation of sexual harassment made by Dr. Jwala Gurunath in January 2016. Dr. Gurunath has been tweeting and repeatedly accusing the respondent of sexual harassment and commenting extensively about it on twitter. An FIR was also lodged against the respondent for sexual
  22. 22. harassment by Dr. Jwala Gurunath. Her accusations have been reported in media and have been commented on Twitter by various prominent persons, but the respondent has chosen not file any complaint against them. He has also not filed any defamation complaint against Dr Gurunath. 28. The fact of the matter is that the respondent has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment, an FIR has been lodged against him and by his own public admission, he has been investigated and also summoned by the police. For the respondent to falsely state on oath that he has never been accused of sexual harassment shows the extent to which the respondent can go in order to harass the petitioner. The respondent might not have been arrested in the sexual harassment matter (even though he had been arrested in Prashant Bhushan assault case) and he might also have got the FIR quashed on technical grounds, but still the respondent cannot claim that the petitioner’s tweet was an outright lie for which she should be prosecuted for defamation. Mala fide complaint 29. The respondent being the spokesperson of the BJP has targeted the petitioner by filing the mala fide complaint since the petitioner who is an investigative journalist has been consistently exposing the wrong doings of the government and the ruling party in her book and her writings. She has been vocally critical of the BJP and its government. The fact that a man of the reputation of the
  23. 23. respondent was appointed its spokesperson, speaks volumes about the party. The respondent and his party clearly have an axe to grind against the petitioner. 30. Thus, there is a clear reason why the respondent has chosen to target specifically the petitioner and not file any complaint or case against numerous others who have commented on his appointment as spokesperson of the BJP. The fact that the respondent is the person who attacked Mr. Prashant Bhushan is confirmed by various news reports, the charge-sheet filed by Delhi Police and respondent’s own candid admissions. Respondent has not filed any defamation complaint against any person for naming him as the person who assaulted Mr. Bhushan. 31. The respondent has not filed any defamation complaint Dr. Jwala Gurunath, a member of BJP for publically naming the respondent as the person who harassed her by calling her 25 times and asking her to allow him to spend the night with her. Dr. Gurunath not only lodged an FIR against the respondent, but also publically tweeted about it numerous times and also wrote about it to several prominent persons including the petitioner herein. Since this matter came in public domain, numerous publically influential persons have commented on it, including on the character of the respondent. The respondent chose not to file any complaint against them. 32. The respondent specifically targeted the petitioner, using her tweet as an excuse, in order to harass her using the legal process by filing a mala fide complaint. This has been
  24. 24. clearly done to further his political career within the BJP since he knows that his party has been adversely commented upon by the petitioner in her numerous articles. 33. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal (1992) Supp 1 SCC 335 dealt extensively with the power of the High Courts under Article 482 CrPC specifically with reference to petitions seeking quashing of criminal complaints. The Hon’ble Supreme Court specifically stated that the High Courts have the power to quash complaint which is mala fide and laid down: “In the exercise of the extra-ordinary power under Article 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the following categories of cases are given by way of illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list for myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised: (a) where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused; (b) where the allegations in the First Information Report and other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2)of the Code; (c) where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or 'complaint and the evidence collected in support of the
  25. 25. same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused; (d) where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code; (e) where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused; (f) where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party; (g) where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.” Law of defamation 34. There is no right to reputation against truth. Truth triumphs any claim for damaged reputation. Truth and public interest are clear statutorily recognized defenses to defamation under the IPC. 35. The respondent is a public personality and BJP is the dominant national political party. The information shared in the article relates to public conduct of a public person and a public entity. When the petitioner came to know about the appointment of the respondent as BJP’s spokesperson, she made a legitimate comment on public conduct of a political party and their spokesperson.
  26. 26. Petitioner’s tweet was manifestly and ex-facie based on truth and made in public interest. Thus, the complaint of the respondent is clearly bad in law and is only filed to harass the petitioner. 36. Clear exceptions are provided in Section 499 IPC which protects petitioner. The relevant part is reproduced herein below: “First Exception. —Imputation of truth which public good requires to be made or published.—It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, if it be for the public good that the imputation should be made or published. Whether or not it is for the public good is a question of fact. Second Exception. —Public conduct of public servants.—It is not defamation to express in a good faith any opinion whatever respecting the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions, or respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further. Third Exception. —Conduct of any person touching any public question.—It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever respecting the conduct of any person touching any public question, and respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct, and no further. … Ninth Exception- Imputation made in good faith by person for protection of his or other's interests- It is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another provided that the imputation be made in good faith for the protection of the interests of the person making it, or of any other person, or for the public good. Tenth Exception- Caution intended for good of person to whom conveyed or for public good- it is not defamation to convey a caution, in good faith, to one person against another, provided that such caution be intended for the good of the person to whom it is conveyed, or of some person in whom that person is interested, or for the public good.” Thus, ex-facie the offence of defamation is not made out since the petitioner’s tweet is clearly covered by above clear
  27. 27. exceptions in built in the very definition of defamation as provided in Section 499 IPC. 37. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in R. Rajagopal vs. State of Tamil Nadu, (1994) 6 SCC 632 had endorsed Justice Brennan’s caution that: “A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions — and to do so on pain of libel judgments virtually unlimited in amount—leads to … “self-censorship”. Allowance of the defense of truth, with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean that only false speech will be deterred. Even courts accepting this defense as an adequate safeguard have recognized the difficulties of adducing legal proofs that the alleged libel was true in all its factual particulars. … Under such a rule, would-be critics of official conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism, even though it is believed to be true and even though it is in fact true, because of doubt whether it can be proved in court or fear of the expense of having to do so. They tend to make only statements which ‘steer far wider of the unlawful zone’…. The rule thus dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate. It is inconsistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with ‘actual malice’ — that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” If a libel action is forbidden, even more so should criminal action be forbidden lest it stifle democratic discourse. Criminal Courts should therefore adjudge defamation complaints in the spirit of Supreme Court’s philosophical mandate. 38. A three judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court had quashed a criminal defamation complaint vide its
  28. 28. judgment in S. Khushboo v. Kaniammal & Ors. (2010) 5 SCC 600 by stating: “We now turn to the question whether the appellant's remarks could reasonably amount to offence of defamation as defined under Section 499 IPC. In the impugned judgment dated 30.4.2008, the High Court observed that as to whether the appellant could claim a defence against the allegations of defamation was a factual question and thus would be decided by a trial Court. However, even before examining whether the appellant can claim any of the statutory defences in this regard, the operative question is whether the allegations in the impugned complaints support a prima facie case of defamation in the first place. It is our considered view that there is no prima facie case of defamation in the present case.” 39. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while upholding the constitutional validity of criminal defamation (Section 499- 501 IPC) in Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India (2016) 7 SCC 221 cautioned regarding mechanical issuance of process by the Magistrate in cases of defamation. The relevant paragraph is reproduced herein below: “The Court, though in a different context, has observed that there lies responsibility and duty on the Magistracy to find whether the concerned accused should be legally responsible for the offence charged for. Only on satisfying that the law casts liability or creates offence against the juristic person or the persons impleaded then only process would be issued. At that stage the court would be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all the relevant facts and circumstances into consideration before issuing process lest it would be an instrument in the hands of the private complaint as vendetta to harass the persons needlessly.”
  29. 29. 40. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rajendra Kumar Sitaram Pande v. Uttam (1999) 3 SCC 134 held that exceptions to defamation, as provided in Section 499 IPC, can be tested even at the initial stage when the exceptions are apparent from the record. The Court held: “The next question that arises for consideration is whether reading the complaint and the report of the Treasury Officer which was obtained pursuant to the Order of the Magistrate under sub-section (1) of Section 201 can it be said that a prima facie case exist for trial or exception 8 to Section 499 clearly applies and consequently in such a case, calling upon the accused to face trial would be a travesty of justice. The gravamen of the allegations in the complaint petition is that the accused persons made a complaint to the Treasury Officer, Amravati, containing false imputations to the effect that the complainant had come to the office in a drunken state and abused the Treasury Officer, Additional Treasury Officer and the Collector and circulated in the office in the filthy language and such imputations had been made with the intention to cause damage to the reputation and services of the complainant. In order to decide the correctness of this averment, the Magistrate instead of issuing process had called upon the Treasury Officer to hold inquiry and submit a report and the said Treasury Officer did submit a report to the Magistrate. The question for consideration is whether the allegations in the complaint read with the report of the Magistrate make out the offence under Section 500 or not. Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code defines the offence of defamation and Section 500 provides the punishment for such offence. Exception 8 to Section 499 clearly indicates that it is not a defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful authority over that person with regard to the subject matter of accusation. The report of the Treasury Officer clearly indicates that pursuant to the report made by the accused persons against the complainant, a departmental inquiry had been initiated and the complainant was found to be guilty. Under such circumstances the fact that the accused persons had made a report to the superior officer of the complainant alleging that he had abused to the Treasury Officer in a
  30. 30. drunken state which is the gravamen of the present complaint and nothing more, would be covered by exception 8 to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. By perusing the allegations made in the complaint petition, we are also satisfied that no case of defamation has been made out. In this view of the matter, requiring the accused persons to face trial or even to approach the Magistrate afresh for reconsideration of the question of issuance of process would not be in the interest of justice. On the other hand in our considered opinion this is a fit case for quashing the order of issuance of process and the proceedings itself. We, therefore, set aside the impugned order of the High Court and confirm the order of the learned Sessions Judge and quash the criminal proceeding itself. This appeal is allowed." GROUNDS A. Because petitioner through her Twitter handle i.e. @bainjal was commenting on the code of conduct of the ruling party in appointment of a spokesperson of low credentials as that of the respondent while tweeting that “Now the man who beat up @pbhushan1 was arrested in a sexual harassment case speaks for @BJP4India. Good job” dated 15.03.2017. Petitioner had only remarked on the conduct of the ruling party herein BJP in appointment of a person as their spokesman who had criminally assaulted an advocate and who had been involved in a sexual harassment case. The tweet was targeted at the BJP and not respondent per se. The tweet was also based on nothing but truth and in good faith as this petition shows. The tweet was a step towards accountability of the functioning of the ruling party BJP and to alert the public about its code of conduct. The tweet was thus in public interest.
  31. 31. B. Because respondent being the spokesperson of the BJP has with ulterior intention targeted the petitioner who is a journalist of high repute and eminence, by filing the mala fide complaint because the petitioner has written an investigative book titled ‘I am a troll: Inside the secret world of the BJP’s digital army’ which uncovers the systemic abuse and attack made by the BJP affiliated persons on the social networking websites. The Petitioner has illustrated respondent in the book as a BJP’s Internet warrior who graduated from online abuse to actual violence. Her book has been widely acclaimed and praised internationally and nationally. The petitioner has been consistently exposing the wrong doings of the government and the ruling party in her book and her writings. Her investigative stories have exposed the wrong acts of various governments and political parties over the last 20 years. However, till date she has not faced any defamation or other criminal charges throughout her career as an investigative journalist. Respondent with an ulterior motive to harass the petitioner has filed this defamation case. C. Because there is a clear reason why the respondent has chosen to target specifically the petitioner and not to file any complaint or case against numerous others who have commented on his appointment as spokesperson of the BJP. The fact that the respondent is the person who attacked Mr. Prashant Bhushan is confirmed by various news reports, the charge-sheet filed by Delhi Police and respondent’s own candid admissions. However, respondent has chosen not file
  32. 32. any defamation complaint against any person for naming him as the person who assaulted Mr. Bhushan. Further respondent has also not taken any action against Dr. Jwala Gurunath for filing a sexual harassment case against him. Thus it can be inferred that only the petitioner has been specifically targeted to silence her voice. It is also to be noted that the petitioner has never been accused of defamation in her career spanning over 20 years. D. Because the conduct of the respondent is dubious and questionable. Respondent in 2010 had attacked the car of one Kashmiri leader in Delhi, in 2011 he had disrupted Ms. Arundhati Roy’s book launch in Delhi and in 2012 he had heckled a Kashmiri Hurriyat leader in Delhi. Respondent has been extremely active on micro-blogging website Twitter and other social media targeting critics of the BJP. He is a notorious social media troller. Respondent has even claimed in his complaint that he has never been charged for sexual harassment whereas it is not true as the complaint against sexual harassment has been filed by Dr. Jawala Gurunath on 01.01.2016 with the Karnataka Police against the respondent for sexual harassment and insult to her caste identity. Thus the conduct of the respondent is dishonest, misleading and questionable. E. Because petitioner’s tweet is nothing but truth and it had two parts: a) referring to Mr. Prashant Bhushan’s assault case; and b) referring to involvement in a sexual harassment case.
  33. 33. As far as the first part is concerned, i.e. assault on Mr. Bhushan, the same is reported extensively by a large section of the media, both on the date of assault as well as afterwards. The respondent had himself claimed credit for the same using his twitter handle and was also arrested and charge-sheeted by the Delhi Police. The respondent is out on bail and the trial is still going on. For the respondent to expect that no one would comment on his case till the trial is completed and he is convicted, would mean that public would have to wait for another 7-10 years before they can accuse the respondent of the crime. As far as the second part of the petitioner’s tweet is concerned, the same was a reference to the accusation of sexual harassment made by Dr Jwala Gurunath in January 2016. Dr. Gurunath had tweeted and repeatedly accused the respondent of sexual harassment. An FIR was also lodged against the respondent for sexual harassment by Dr. Jwala Gurunath. Her accusations have been reported in media and have been commented on Twitter by various prominent persons, but the respondent has chosen not file any complaint against them. Further, he has also not filed any defamation complaint against Dr. Gurunath. F. Because the respondent along with two others on 12.10.2011 had trespassed and assaulted advocate Prashant Bhushan in his Supreme Court chamber. After the attack, Mr. Bhushan was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where doctors said that he had received minor injuries on his head and leg.
  34. 34. Hours before the assault the respondent had tweeted. "God give us power to complete our mission." After the assault, the respondent claimed credit for the assault exulting, “He try to break my nation, I try to break his head. Hisab chukta. Congrats to all. Operation Prashant Bhushan successful." In another tweet he had posted: "We hit Prashant Bhushan hard in his chamber in Supreme Court. If you will try to break my nation, I will break your heads.” An FIR (182/2011) was registered at Tilak Marg Police Station on the same date, i.e. 12.10.2011 and one of the accused Inder Verma was arrested. On the next date, the respondent was arrested by the Delhi Police along with another accused Vishnu Gupta for the assault of Mr. Prashant Bhushan. A chargesheet was later filed by the Delhi Police against the three accused including the respondent under Sections 452, 323, 120(B) and 34 of the IPC for the brutal assault on Mr. Prashant Bhushan. G. Because the respondent has also been accused of sexual harassment by Dr. Jwala Gurunath in a police complaint. Between 02.01.2016 and 08.06.2017, Dr Jwala Gurunath on twitter (@DrJwalaG) repeatedly accused the respondent of sexual harassment. She alleged that the respondent had made an indecent proposal by calling her 25 times to stay over her place. A police complaint was lodged by Dr. Jawala Gurunath on 01.01.2016 with the Karnataka Police against the respondent for sexual harassment and insult to her caste identity. In her letter to the police, Dr Gurunath has accused the respondent of making an indecent proposal by calling her
  35. 35. nearly 25 times. On 08.01.2016, an FIR 3/2016 was registered by the Karnataka Police at Kalburgi, Karnataka on the complaint of Dr. Jwala Gurunath against the respondent. The case was subsequently transferred to Bangaluru. Crime No. 32/2016 was registered by Bangaluru Police under Section 3 of SC&ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000. Though the complainant had alleged harassment by the respondent, the FIR did not mention the sections in IPC relating to sexual harassment. Ld. Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in a petition filed by the respondent herein under Section 482 CrPC, vide judgment dated 14.07.2016, quashed proceedings in Crime No. 32/16 of Kumaraswamy Layout police station, Bengaluru on the ground that the complainant (Dr. Jawala Gurunath) had not disclosed in her complaint that the respondent was not a member of SC/ST and that he had intentionally insulted her with an intent to humiliate in public view. The learned single judge also observed that the Hon’ble Supreme Court had already struck down Section 66A of the IT Act and therefore, the said offence was not attracted. Though the FIR got quashed based on legal technicalities, it can not be completely negated that the sexual harassment case was initiated against the respondent. H. Because the respondent is a public personality and BJP is the dominant national political party. The information shared in the article relates to public conduct of a public person and a public entity. When the petitioner came to know about the
  36. 36. appointment of the respondent as BJP’s spokesperson, she made a legitimate comment on public conduct of a political party and their spokesperson. Petitioner’s tweet was manifestly and ex-facie based on truth and made in public interest. Thus, the complaint of the respondent is clearly bad in law and is only filed to harass the petitioner. There is no right to reputation against truth. Truth triumphs any claim for damaged reputation. Truth and public interest are clear statutorily recognized defenses to defamation under the IPC. Clear exception is provided in Section 499 IPC which protects petitioner against the charges of defamation. Thus, ex-facie the offence of defamation is not made out since the petitioner’s tweet is clearly covered by above clear exceptions in built in the very definition of defamation as provided in Section 499 IPC. I. Because the respondent has not filed any defamation complaint against Dr. Jwala Gurunath, a member of BJP for publically naming the respondent as the person who harassed her by calling her 25 times and asking her to allow him to spend the night with her. Dr. Gurunath not only lodged an FIR against the respondent, but also publically tweeted about it numerous times and also wrote about it to several prominent persons including the petitioner herein. Since this matter came in public domain, numerous publically influential persons have commented on it, including on the character of the respondent. The respondent also chose not to file any complaint against them. The
  37. 37. respondent specifically targeted the petitioner, using her tweet as an excuse, in order to harass her using the legal process by filing a mala fide complaint. This has been clearly done to further his political career within the BJP since he knows that his party has been adversely commented upon by the petitioner in her numerous articles. J. Because the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal (1992) Supp 1 SCC 335 dealt extensively with the power of the High Courts under Article 482 CrPC specifically with reference to petitions seeking quashing of criminal complaints. The Hon’ble Supreme Court specifically stated that the High Courts have the power to quash complaint which is mala fide and laid down: “In the exercise of the extra-ordinary power under Article 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the following categories of cases are given by way of illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list for myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised: (a) where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused; (b) where the allegations in the First Information Report and other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2)of the Code;
  38. 38. (c) where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or 'complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused; (d) where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code; (e) where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused; (f) where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party; (g) where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.” K. Because the Hon’ble Supreme Court in R. Rajagopal vs. State of Tamil Nadu, (1994) 6 SCC 632 had endorsed Justice Brennan’s caution that: “A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions — and to do so on pain of libel judgments virtually unlimited in amount—leads to … “self-censorship”. Allowance of the defense of truth, with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean that only false speech will be deterred. Even courts accepting this defense as an adequate safeguard have recognized the difficulties of adducing legal proofs that the alleged libel was true in all its factual particulars. … Under such a rule, would-be critics of official conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism, even though it is believed
  39. 39. to be true and even though it is in fact true, because of doubt whether it can be proved in court or fear of the expense of having to do so. They tend to make only statements which ‘steer far wider of the unlawful zone’…. The rule thus dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate. It is inconsistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The constitutional guarantees require, we think, a federal rule that prohibits a public official from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with ‘actual malice’ — that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” If a libel action is forbidden, even more so should criminal action be forbidden lest it stifle democratic discourse. Criminal Courts should therefore adjudge defamation complaints in the spirit of Supreme Court’s philosophical mandate. L. Because a three judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court had quashed a criminal defamation complaint vide its judgment in S. Khushboo v. Kaniammal & Ors. (2010) 5 SCC 600 by stating: “We now turn to the question whether the appellant's remarks could reasonably amount to offence of defamation as defined under Section 499 IPC. In the impugned judgment dated 30.4.2008, the High Court observed that as to whether the appellant could claim a defence against the allegations of defamation was a factual question and thus would be decided by a trial Court. However, even before examining whether the appellant can claim any of the statutory defences in this regard, the operative question is whether the allegations in the impugned complaints support a prima facie case of defamation in the first place. It is our considered view that there is no prima facie case of defamation in the present case.”
  40. 40. PRAYER It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that this Hon'ble Court may kindly be pleased to: (a) Quash the Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi” pending in the Court of Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, filed by the respondent under Section 200 CrPC against the petitioner for allegedly having committed offences under Section 499, 500 and 501 IPC; (b) Quash the summoning order dated 17.05.2018 passed by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi”; (c) This Hon'ble Court may also pass such and further order/orders as may be deemed fit and proper on the facts and in the circumstances of this case. PETITIONER: THROUGH: PRANAV SACHDEVA COUNSEL FOR THE PETITIONER DRAWN BY: Surabhi Kumari DELHI DATED: JULY 2018
  41. 41. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL.M.A. NO. OF 2018 IN CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF:- SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENT APPLICATION ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS UNDER SECTION 482 OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 1973 FOR STAY OF PROCEEDING BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE PETITION MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:- 1. That the present petition is being filed under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking quashing of the complaint (being Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017) filed by the Respondent herein under Section 200 of Cr.P.C. for initiating the proceedings under Section 499, 500 and 501 of IPC against the Petitioner herein. This petition also seeks quashing of the summoning order dated 17.05.2018 passed by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled as “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi”. 2. Petitioner made a legitimate comment on public conduct of a political party and their spokesperson. Petitioner’s tweet was manifestly and ex-facie based on truth and made in public interest. Thus, the complaint of the respondent is clearly bad in law and is only filed to harass the petitioner. There is no right to reputation against truth. Truth triumphs any claim for damaged reputation. Truth and
  42. 42. public interest are clear statutorily recognized defenses to defamation under the IPC. Clear exception is provided in Section 499 IPC which protects petitioner against the charges of defamation. Thus, ex-facie the offence of defamation is not made out since the petitioner’s tweet is clearly covered by above clear exceptions in built in the very definition of defamation as provided in Section 499 IPC. 3. That the impugned summoning order dated 17.05.2018 is patently erroneous and unsustainable and the same in all likelihood is liable to be set aside by this Hon’ble Court on the grounds mentioned in the petition. 4. That for the reasons stated in the petition the balance of convenience lies in favour of the petitioner and they will suffer irreparable loss if the proceeding before the Trial court is not stayed during the pendency of the present petition as the same may result into grave injustice and harassment to the petitioners. 5. The proceeding before the Ld. Trial Court is, therefore, deserves to be stayed during the pendency of the present petition and immediate protection from this Hon’ble Court is prayed for because the criminal complaint is listed on 12.07.2018. 6. The present application is being filed bonafide and in the interest of justice. PRAYER In the aforesaid premises, it is most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:
  43. 43. i. Grant ex-parte ad-interim order staying the proceeding of the criminal complaint no. 44490 of 2018 titled as “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi” pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi. ii. This Hon’ble Court may pass such other and further order(s) as it may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice. PETITIONER: THROUGH: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  44. 44. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL.M.A. NO. OF 2018 IN CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF:- SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENT APPLICATION ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS UNDER SECTION 482 OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 1973 FOR EXEMPTION FROM FILING THE CERTIFIED COPIES OF THE ANNEXURES The Petitioners most respectfully submit as under:- 1. That the present petition is being filed under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking quashing of the complaint (being Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017) filed by the Respondent herein under Section 200 of Cr.P.C. for initiating the proceedings under Section 499, 500 and 501 of IPC against the Petitioner herein. This petition also seeks quashing of the summoning order dated 17.05.2018 passed by the Ld. Metropolitan Magistrate-6, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi in Complaint Case No. 44490 of 2017 titled as “Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga vs. Swati Chaturvedi”. 2. The Petitioner along with the present petition have filed certain annexures as true copies their originals and some of the annexures are dim. 3. The Petitioners undertake to file the certified copy of the Annexures and as when the same will be made available to them. In the meantime, the Petitioner is filing true copies of the Annexures.
  45. 45. 4. The Petitioners are filing the true copies of the Annexures for the time being because the matter is of urgent nature and criminal complaint is listed before the Ld. Trial Court on 12.07.2018. PRAYER In the aforesaid premises, it is most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to: i. Exempt the Petitioners from filing the certified copies of the Annexures and allow the petitioners to file dim & small font annexures; ii. This Hon’ble Court may pass such other and further order(s) as it may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice. PETITIONER: THROUGH: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERS CHAMBER DATED: 06.07.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  46. 46. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL.M.A. NO. OF 2018 IN CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF:- SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENT APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO FILE DIM COPY/ SHORT FONT/ ILLEGIBLE ANNEXURES UNDER SECTION 151 OF THE CPC WITH AFFIDAVIT To, THE HON’BLE ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE DELHI HIGH COURT; AND HER COMPANION JUDGES OF THE DELHI HIGH COURT. The Humble Petition of the Petitioner above-named MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH: - 1. That it is submitted that the applicant has placed on record annexure/s which are dim, part of the gazette notification and official communications. Considering the urgency in the matter the same could not by typed. The petitioner undertakes to furnish typed copy of the same as and when directed by this Hon’ble Court. PRAYERS In view of the above facts and circumstances, it is most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased: - i. Permit the applicant from filing dim copy/ short font/ illegible annexures; and/or
  47. 47. ii. To grant such other reliefs as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in light of the facts and circumstances of the case. Filed Through: PRANAV SACHDEVA ADVOCATE FOR THE PETITIONER NEW DELHI 301, NEW LAWYERSCHAMBER DATED: 13.12.2017 SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ENROLMENT NO.: D/1806/2009 MOBILE NO: +91-9910523811
  48. 48. IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI CRL.M.A. NO. OF 2018 IN CRL. MISC. (MAIN) OF 2018 IN THE MATTER OF:- SWATI CHATURVEDI ….PETITIONER VERSUS TAJINDER PAL SINGH BAGGA …RESPONDENT I, Swati Chaturvedi, D/o Shri Gopal Chaturvedi, R/o _________, do hereby solemnly state and affirm as under: 1. That I am Petitioner in the above noted petition and as such, well conversant with the facts of the case and thus competent to swear this affidavit. 2. The contents of the accompanying application has been drafted under my instructions and the facts stated therein are true and correct to my knowledge. DEPONENT VERIFICATION:- Verified at New Delhi on this day of July 2018 that the contents of this affidavit are true and correct to the best of my knowledge; no part of it it false and nothing material has been concealed therein. DEPONENT

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