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The Delhi High Court today allowed the appeal filed by Arvind Kejriwal against the order of the Joint Registrar which had directed the Delhi Chief Minister to conclude the cross examination of Arun Jaitley in the defamation case by February 12.
The Court has also agreed to shift the cross examination from the Joint Registrar to a Single Judge Bench.
The appeal by Kejriwal, filed through Advocate Anupam Srivastava, stated that the order of the Joint Registrar limiting the right to cross examination was in violation of the principles of natural justice and fair trial.
It was stated that the Finance Minister consistently chose to answer evasively and avoided questions based on certain documents, claiming that they were photocopies that necessitated summoning of the originals, resulting in prolonged proceedings.
The petition reads,
“The Ld. Joint Registrar committed an error which is apparent on the face of record by limiting the right of the Defendant No. 1 to cross examine….The Ld. Joint Registrar failed to appreciate that the examination of witnesses plays an important role in the presentation of the evidence in a court of law.
….neither in the Code of Civil Procedure nor in the Indian Evidence Act, any restriction has been placed on the right of the Appellant, to cross examine the witness on the relevant issues.”
It was also stated that the JR on November 30 last year, had fixed three dates for cross examination viz. February 2, 12 and 13 of 2018, and at no stage indicated that the defendant had to limit the cross examination within a particular period.
Appearing for the Finance Minister, Senior Counsel Sandeep Sethi along with Advocate Manik Dogra opposed the submissions made by Kejriwal.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice Manmohan, while allowing the appeal by the Delhi Chief Minister, shifted the cross examination from the Joint Registrar to a Single Judge Bench.
The Bench also observed that the matter should be conducted fairly and in a speedy manner and not be allowed to go on forever.