SC quashes defamation case against RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan passed the order in view of Yadav withdrawing his statements on record

The complaint against Tejashwi Yadav (pictured) was filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged criminal defamation. (photo: IANS)
The complaint against Tejashwi Yadav (pictured) was filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged criminal defamation. (photo: IANS)
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NH Digital

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 13 February quashed the criminal defamation complaint filed against Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav after he withdrew his remarks “only Gujaratis can be thugs”.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan passed the order which on a plea by Yadav to transfer the trial in the case to a court outside Gujarat. “We have quashed the case in view of petitioner withdrawing his statements on record. Accordingly disposed of,” said the bench.

Last month, the court had asked why the prosecution for defamation should continue when Yadav has withdrawn his remarks. Yadav had requested for the trial to be moved from Gujarat to a 'neutral place', preferably to Delhi.

The complaint against Yadav was filed under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for alleged criminal defamation. The court had earlier stayed the proceedings and issued notice to the local businessman and Gujarat resident, Haresh Mehta, who had filed the defamation complaint. He is the vice president of an organisation called the All India Anti-Corruption and Crime Preventive Council.

Mehta stated that Yadav's remark caused “mental and physical harm” to Gujaratis and urged the magistrate court to summon Yadav. In August 2023, preliminary enquiry was conducted against Yadav by a Gujarat court under Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and it found sufficient grounds to summon him on the complaint filed by Mehta.

Section 202 of the CrPC empowers the Magistrate to postpone the issue of process and either inquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a police officer in a case where the accused is residing at a place beyond the area in which he exercises his jurisdiction

Mehta claimed that Yadav had said in Patna 2023 that only Gujaratis can be thugs in the present situation, and their fraud will be forgiven. “Who will be responsible if they run away with the money belonging to the LIC or banks," the then Bihar Deputy CM had allegedly asked.

In November 2023, the apex court asked if Yadav was willing to withdraw the statement and asked for a separate statement on that. As Yadav had withdrawn the statement, the court closed the case.

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