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Jaitley, Jethmalani spar in court

17 May, 2017 4:16 PM
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Minister loses cool as Kejriwal’s counsel uses ‘scandalous’ word against him

Sparks flew during a charged-up hearing in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday and Union Minister Arun Jaitley lost his cool when Ram Jethmalani, counsel for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, used a scandalous word to describe him.

Mr. Jaitley, 64 , was in the court for the fourth round of cross-examination by Mr. Jethmalani, a 93-year-old lawyer, in his defamation case against the AAP chief but the proceedings ended abruptly after an intense verbal duel broke out between the once close legal associates. The proceedings lasted barely 45 minutes.

The recording of Mr. Jaitley’s statement in a civil defamation suit of ₹10 crore filed by him against Mr. Kejriwal and other AAP functionaries could not continue as the Finance Minister objected to the use of an abusive word hurled at him by Mr. Jethmalani.

Mr. Jaitley, who appeared before Joint Registrar Deepali Sharma, lost his cool and asked Mr. Jethmalani whether the word was used as per instructions from Mr. Kejriwal.

“If this is so, I would aggravate the charges against the defendant [Kejriwal],” said an upset Mr. Jaitley, who is usually calm, adding there was a limit to personal malice. Mr. Jaitley, who is holding twin portfolios of Finance and Defence, also said that the senior counsel should clarify if he had made such comment in his personal capacity. Mr. Jethmalani replied, saying the said word had been used by him on instructions from his client (Mr. Kejriwal).

However, Anupam Srivastav, advocate on record for Mr. Kejriwal since the beginning of the suit, submitted that he had no instructions on the use of the word. Mr. Jethmalani went on to say that in a suit for defamation, the personal character of the plaintiff was extremely important.

Also read: Law varsity to accept complaints till May 27


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