SC adjourns defamation proceedings against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for retweeting YouTuber Dhruv Rathee’s video titled ‘BJP IT Cell Part-2’ until March 11

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Today (February 26, 2024), the Supreme Court (SC) of India was hearing a special leave petition filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against the decision of the Delhi High Court refusing to quash summons in a defamation case. The HC said, “When a public figure tweets a defamatory post, the ramifications extend far beyond a mere whisper in someone’s ears.” The defamation charges were lodged against him for retweeting YouTuber Dhruv Rathee’s video on ‘X’ (earlier known as Twitter), titled ‘BJP IT Cell Part-2’, that highlighted certain defamatory statements against Vikas Sankrityan. The bench adjourned the proceedings until March 11, 2024, after the AAP supremo apologized and admitted that the retweet was a mistake. The matter was heard today by a two-judge bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta

During the proceedings today, Senior Advocate AM Singhvi appearing for CM Kejriwal argued that “it’s a case of defamation just for retweeting on X. This complaint is followed immediately by pre-summoning evidence being recorded. After this, the complaint is withdrawn. When it is refiled, nine months after the incident, it was suppressed that the original complaint was withdrawn.” He added that the tweet was as it was retweeted without any addition or deletion. Justice Khanna said, “When it comes to retweets, there may be two ways to look at it: One is an endorsement. If it is an endorsement, then it may have its own consequences. The other way to look at it is, you found something on the internet or on the website and you are just sharing that information.” 

SA Singhvi expressed AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s willingness to admit that retweeting the tweet on a social media platform was a mistake. Considering this, the SC bench asked the complainant, represented by Advocate Raghav Awasthi, if he would be amenable to closing the case. Advocate Awasthi sought instructions from the SC before agreeing to close the case. Further SA Singhvi requested for an adjournment stating, “They are prosecuting him very fast. They are hot-footing it. We will request for an adjournment before the trial court. Let them agree…” After hearing the matter, the SC pronounced, “Relist on Monday, March 11. Meanwhile, the matter will not be taken up by the trial court.”