The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed the summons issued by a lower court to BJP MLA Vijender Gupta in a criminal defamation case filed by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot (Vijender Gupta v State of NCT of Delhi)..Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri asked Gahlot to file his response on Gupta’s plea and listed the case for further hearing in March next year..Gahlot had filed a criminal defamation case against Gupta before the Rouse Avenue Court, claiming that he had made several false allegations against him. After hearing the case, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey had issued summons to Gupta on November 16.Gupta had alleged that there was a scam in the procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses for public transport and Gahlot was personally involved in this. Gahlot had termed these allegations baseless and argued that his social and political image had been tarnished..Gupta, however, argued before the High Court that the order issuing summons is bad in law as no offense under Sections 499 and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is made out against him and the continuation of the proceedings are an abuse of the process of the law.“Petitioner has tweeted in a logical and responsible manner and all the tweets are true narrations of the documents and events as those unfolded from time to time. In a democratic set up, the beauty of our Constitutional framework is the significance which is attributed to the political Opposition. In absentia of a strong and effective Opposition, the edifice of Constitution will collapse and the right of the Opposition to question can never be twisted, subjugated or chopped off, if at all a country wants to uphold the democratic spirit; and to be specific, the same cannot be narrowed down on the pretext of criminal defamation under Sections 499 & 500 of Indian Penal Code, 1860,” read Gupta’s petition..He added that his tweets fall under the exceptions allowed under Section 499 of the IPC and therefore no criminal defamation is made out in the instant case.“Exposure of such truth was in public good. It needs no elaboration to highlight that it is the Constitutional obligation of the Opposition leaders in a democracy to question & highlight the work of the ruling government in the interest of public good,” he argued.