Smriti Irani Clean Chit from Delhi High Court
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Brief Facts

Nirupam, a former Congress MP, had filed the complaint against Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani, alleging that on December 20, 2012, when the Gujarat Assembly poll result were announced, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader had made “defamatory and scurrilous comments” against him during the debate on ABP news, a private news channel by making direct aspersion on the character of the complainant (Nirupam). In 2013, Smriti Irani had already filed a complaint against Nirupam for alleging defaming her by saying “I don’t have to listen to you. It’s been four days since you have entered politics and you already think you are a great political analyst…till yesterday you were dancing on television and today you have become a politician.” during  the same debate. Ms Irani complaint was filed under Section 500 of IPC which gives provision of defamation and Section 509 of IPC which gives provision of uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman, to which court had put Nirupam under the trial process.

Contention

  • Participation in the TV debate one should maintain civility and decency as it is watched by audience through live telecast.

Held

Justice R K Gauba, gave two separate verdicts, in one it gives relief to Union Minister Smriti Irani, by quashing the criminal proceeding against he , initiated by Congress Leader Sanjay Nirupam on defamation and in another dismissed Nirupam’s plea of quashing the criminal proceeding against him ,initiated by Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani . For the interest of parties name of Smriti Irani and Sanjay Nirupam was not mentioned in the judgment and cause list. Ms Irani was referred as ‘PQR’ in the judgment, Mr Nirupam was referred as ‘XYZ’. The court said that “the drift of the discussion which led to the verbal duel shows that Ms. Irani was trying to block the criticism levelled by Mr Nirupam against the performance of the political party to which she belonged, and in that process she questioned his credentials by referring to the history of he having switched loyalties.” Justice Gauba said “She at no stage called him a ‘rapist’ or a ‘molester’ or an ‘eve teaser’, neither directly nor indirectly. Her responses cannot be construed but as a caution to him to remain within the bounds of decency and civility,” The court observed and stated “The continuance of such criminal prosecution on the basis of available material would be an abuse of the process of law”. So the relief was granted to Ms Irani and stated that the “manner in which the second respondent (Nirupam) has sought utterances or intervention of petitioner (Irani) to be construed is not correct”. And trial against respondent (Nirupam) will be continued thus dismissing the plea of respondent.

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