Zee Media on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it would not record evidence before trial court in its defamation case against Mahua Moitra till February 18. (Mahua Moita vs State)
Justice Mukta Gupta took on record a statement made to this effect by Zee media counsel, Adv Vijay Aggarwal.
The Court was hearing an application moved by Mahua Moitra in her challenge to the summoning order and subsequent processing in Zee Media’s criminal defamation case against her.
Appearing for Moitra, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal prayed that the hearing in the matter be advanced since the trial court has listed the defamation case for the recording of complainant’s evidence on January 8.
Plea was also made for stay of the trial court proceedings.
Sibal argued that the defamation case was initiated against Mahua only in retaliation to her defamation case against Zee News’ Editor-in-Chief, Sudhir Chaudhary.
“..in these circumstances, there cannot be defamation.. they kept harassing her and, in the fit, (of the moment), she said you are a chor.“, he said.
In response, Aggarwal stated that he had no objections with respect to the date being advanced.
He, however, refused to concede passing of a stay order in the matter.
The Court noted that on earlier occasions, no stay was required to be passed on account of Zee Media’s assertion that trial was unlikely to commence due to COVID-19.
Since the trial court had now listed the matter for recording of evidence, the court asked Aggarwal,
“You say you will not examine yourself and seek adjournment or we will hear .. stay was not grated because you said evidence will not happen.”
Further, as Aggarwal began challenging the maintainability of a writ petition against an order of summoning and framing of notice, the Court orally observed that even after summons have been issued in a case, notice cannot be framed without application of mind.
“Even at the stage of framing of notice, can a judge not apply his mind? Judge is bound to apply his mind.. Even in administrative matters a judge has to apply his mind..”
Aggarwal ultimately submitted that he would take a date before the trial court.
The matter would be heard next on February 18.