SC reserves order on quashing defamation case against Tejashwi Yadav over remarks on Gujaratis

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SC reserves order on quashing defamation case against Tejashwi Yadav over remarks on Gujaratis
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on quashing criminal defamation proceedings pending against former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav for his “only Gujaratis can be thugs” remark.

A bench presided over by Justice Abhay S Oka took note of the submission advanced by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the RJD leader, that a “specific” affidavit has been filed by Yadav unconditionally withdrawing his remarks.

“Your lordships may quash the proceedings in the peculiar facts and circumstances without there being any consent between parties,” submitted the counsel appearing for complainant Haresh Mehta.

“Submissions are heard. Order is reserved. We will pass a detailed order,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan.

In an earlier hearing, the top court had indicated that it will quash the criminal defamation suit pending against Yadav before a magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad in exercise of extraordinary powers conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution.

It had observed that Yadav’s prosecution was no longer necessary since he had filed an affidavit stating that his remark was not intended to offend Gujarati people or any community of a particular state.

In November 2023, the Supreme Court had stayed the trial proceedings after Tejashwi Yadav sought a transfer of criminal defamation case from Gujarat to Bihar.

The complaint goes back to Tejashwi Yadav’s alleged remarks made in March last year in Patna. It has been alleged that Yadav said that “in today’s time, only Gujaratis can be thugs and they will also be forgiven for the same”.

The purported remarks were made by him in reference to the revocation of the red corner notice for fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, a key accused in the Punjab National Bank scam, and purportedly aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In his complaint, Mehta, a social worker and Vice President of an organisation called the All-India Anti-Corruption and Crime Preventive Council, alleged that the remarks defame and humiliate Gujaratis in public.

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