Court Stays Proceedings Against Shashi Tharoor Over 'Scorpion' Remark

Defamation case was filed by Delhi BJP leader Rajiv Babbar against Shashi Tharoor (File)

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the proceedings against Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor in connection with a defamation case pertaining to his alleged “scorpion sitting on Shivling” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait on Friday, while staying the trial court proceeding, also issued notice to the complainant Delhi BJP leader Rajiv Babbar and slated the matter for December 9 for further hearing in the matter.

The plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Gupta and argued by senior advocates Kapil Sibbal and Vikas Pahwa, sought to set aside or quash the summon trial order dated April 27, 2019, passed by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rouse Avenue District Courts.

The plea also sought to quash the main complaint dated November 2, 2018, filed in the matter.

The lawyers argued that the impugned order is bad in law and against the settled principles of criminal jurisprudence and that the trial court completely overlooked the fact that the complaint filed by the complainant Rajiv Babbar is completely false and frivolous.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, reperesenting Shashi Tharoor, also submitted that the said complaint alleged that he was aggrieved by an alleged statement made by the petitioner on October 28, 2018, at Bangalore Literature Festival, against PM Modi.

“However, it is an admitted position that the impugned statement does not have any reference to the complainant either directly or indirectly and thus, no cause of action arises between the petitioner and the respondent,” the plea said.

Mr Pahwa also argued that the cause of action does not arise from a direct statement of the petitioner and added that rather complainant in his own complaint before the trial court had admitted to the fact that the statement in question had been in the public domain since the year 2012 and the petitioner was merely quoting a journalistic fact.

The defamation case was filed by Delhi BJP leader Rajiv Babbar alleging that Mr Tharoor made the statement with mala fide intention, which not only denigrates the Hindu deity but is also defamatory. Babbar had sought to initiate proceeding against Mr Tharoor under Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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