New Delhi, Mar 17: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday appeared before a Delhi court in connection with a defamation case, after they faced criticism for not appearing during the hearing.
Earlier in the day, taking a strong view of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's absence in the defamation case, the Karkarduma court said that Kejriwal and his party leaders Manish Sesodia , Yogendra Yadav have ‘no respect for the law'.
The metropolitan court had also directed Kejriwal to be present before it by 2 pm on Tuesday and also summoned Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia and Yadav in the case.
According to media reports, Kejriwal, Sisodia and Yadav had sought exemption from personal appearances for the day, citing lawyers' strike.
Metropolitan Magistrate Muneesh Garg had earlier directed the AAP leaders, who were released on bail after they had appeared in the court on June 4 last year in pursuance to summons against them, to be present in person on March 17.
The court, which had earlier reserved order for February 11, had granted exemption to the three AAP leaders from personal exemption for that day and had given them a last opportunity to positively appear before it on March 17.
Kejriwal had earlier sought exemption from personal appearance for that day on the ground that he had to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in view of Delhi Assembly elections results which were announced on February 10.
The summons were issued on the complaint of advocate Surender Kumar Sharma under sections 499, 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, with the court, saying there was prima facie material to summon the accused.
While issuing summons against AAP leaders, the court had said, "The press release published in newspapers as well as testimonies of witnesses reflect that defamatory remarks were published in the newspaper which affected the reputation of the complainant in the society and lowered his reputation in the eyes of other members of the society."
The court, however, had rejected the complainant's plea that AAP leaders had conspired and cheated him, saying in the absence of the very element of deception, there was no prima facie material against any of the accused for the offence of cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Sharma had alleged that in 2013 he was approached by volunteers of AAP who had asked him to contest Delhi Assembly election on a party ticket saying Kejriwal was pleased with his social services.
He filled up the application form to contest the polls after being told by Sisodia and Yadav that AAP's Political Affairs Committee had decided to give him the ticket.
However, it was later denied to him. On October 14, 2013, the complainant claimed that articles in leading newspapers carried "defamatory, unlawful and derogatory words used by the accused persons" which have lowered his reputation in the Bar and the society.
(With agency inputs)