SC dismisses plea of Manoj Tiwari against summons issued in Sisodia's defamation case, allows plea by Vijender Gupta

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It was Last month, the Supreme Court deferred ruling on two petitions filed by Tiwari and Gupta challenging the Delhi High Court's decisions to uphold the summons' validity.

The bench of judges Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian quashed the defamation complaint filed by the Delhi minister Manish Sisodia against BJP leader Vijender Gupta. The court here observed that it is not defamatory unless there is more or specific said against it, statements like “I will expose you” are not specific enough. 

Manish Sisodia, a minister in the Delhi government, filed a complaint against Manoj Kumar Tiwari, Vijender Gupta, and others before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Rouse Avenue Courts, New Delhi, alleging commission of offenses under Sections 499 and 500 read with Sections 34 and 35 of the Indian Penal Code. The summons order was contested by the accused before the Delhi High Court. The accused approached the Supreme Court in an appeal after the High Court dismissed these petitions. Manoj Tiwari's sole argument before the Apex Court was that the Court shouldn't have accepted a private complaint under Section 200 Crpc, particularly from a person covered by Section 199(2) of the Code, without adhering to the procedure outlined in sub­section (4) of Section 199. Sisodia alleged against Gupta in a tweet. The tweets were related to claims that Sisodia had corruptly obtained nearly Rs 2,000 crore for the construction of classrooms at a government school in Delhi. 

The supreme court noted that Vijender Gupta's tweets were not discussed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, so in that regard, there was no application of mind on the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's part. 

The supreme court further observed, "The special procedure is in addition to and not in derogation of the right that a public servant always has as an individual. He never lost his right merely because he became a public servant and merely because the allegations related to the official discharge of his duties", the allegations related to the official discharge of his duties".

Compensation for false accusations is covered by Section 250 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Therefore, the bench dismissed Manoj Tewari's appeal, which only contested the summoning order on this ground. Vijender Gupta, another defendant, filed an appeal, which was upheld because his tweets cannot be considered defamatory as defined by Section 499 of the IPC. A defamatory statement should be specific and not very vague and general. Even if a member of a political party had challenged someone in a position of authority by threatening to "expose your scam," the threat may not have been sufficiently specific. The accusation made by the accused must have the potential to damage the reputation of the person against whom it is made. This is a requirement of Section 499 of the Criminal Code.