Face trial for defamation, three army officers told (Lead)July 16th, 2012 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday refused to give any relief to three army officers and told them to appear before the trial judge July 20 in a criminal defamation case filed by Lt.Gen. (retd.) Tejinder Singh.
The officers, along with former army chief General (retd.) V.K. Singh, have been sued by Tejinder Singh for allegations that he offered Gen. Singh Rs.14 crore as bribe for clearing the purchase of substandard Tatra trucks for the army in 2010.
Tejinder Singh alleged that they made libellous statements against him in the media.
The three petitioner officers - Army Vice Chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, Additional Director General Public Information Major Gen. S.L. Narsimhan and Directorate General of Public Information Staff Officer Lt. Col. Hitten Sawhney - moved the high court seeking quashing of the summons issued to them by the trial court.
The trial judge directed them to appear before him July 20 to face prosecution in Tejinder Singh’s complaint related to defamation and committing a criminal act with intention or knowledge.
Justice P.K. Bhasin disposed of the three separate petition filed by the army officers.
The three challenged the trial court’s summons on the ground that sanction was not obtained for their prosecution.
Counsel for both the parties “agreed that the issue of sanction (to prosecute a government servant) under section 197 Code of Criminal Procedure can be allowed to be raised by the petitioner before the magistrate, where the matter is pending”, Justice Bhasin said.
The high court allowed the petitioner army officers to raise the issue before the trial court.
The magistrate could hear the issue of sanction after the officers appeared before it on the date fixed by it, July 20, Justice Bhasin said.
“The magistrate shall decide their application on the question of sanction after they appear before it in accordance with law, without being influenced by the order passed by this court,” said Justice Bhasin.
The court also granted liberty to the officers to seek remedy in case the magistrate refused to hear their plea.
“If the trial court itself feels that it cannot reconsider the issue in accordance with law, the parties are at liberty to seek legal course of action against the trial court’s conclusion,” Justice Bhasin said.
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Tags: army chief, army officers, chief general, criminal act, criminal defamation, crore, defamation case, delhi high court, directorate general, face trial, government servant, magistrate, petitioner, prosecution counsel, public information staff, sawhney, staff officer, tatra trucks, tejinder singh, vice chief