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The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed AAP leader Raghav Chadha's plea that he cannot be made to face a criminal case only for retweeting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's tweet against Union Minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA row.
Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, however, did not go into the question whether the retweets by Chadha would constitute an offence of defamation, saying the issue would have to be decided during trial.
The court dismissed Chadha's plea, saying it was "devoid of merits".
The case came to the high court at the direction of the Supreme Court which had on September 15 asked it to decide by September 25, the AAP leader's plea against the trial court's summoning order.
Chadha in his plea had sought setting aside of a trial court order summoning him as an accused in the criminal defamation case filed by Jaitley against him and five other AAP leaders, including Kejriwal.
Apart from Chadha and Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Deepak Bajpai are also accused in the criminal defamation case filed by the BJP leader.
Chadha had moved the apex court against the high court's July 11 order refusing to stay the lower court proceedings against him in the defamation matter.
In his plea, Chadha had raised the question before the high court as to whether the trial court could have summoned him without determining if the alleged defamatory statements, which were purportedly made through Twitter, were covered under the penal provision of defamation under the IPC.
Kejriwal and other AAP leaders are facing a criminal defamation suit after they had alleged that Jaitley was allegedly involved in corrupt practices when he was the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.
Jaitley, who had denied all the allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had also filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and others, claiming they had made "false and defamatory" statements in the case, thereby harming his reputation.