Thanks : A Thane district court has dismissed a request by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to transfer the libel suit brought against him by RSS activists Vivek Champanerkar to another court. Senior District Judge AJ Mantri rejected Gandhi’s plea in December last year.
The court heard a motion filed by Rahul Gandhi under Article 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) to transfer the defamation suit brought against him and the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury by Vivek Champanerkar for allegedly accusing RSS of having murdered famous journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The lawsuit brought by Champanerkar is pending before a Civil Judge, Main Division. However, Gandhi requested that the same be transferred to the Civil Judge, Junior Division on the grounds that the compensation sought by the plaintiff was less than Rs 5 lakh.
Judge Mantri noted in his order that Rahul Gandhi filed the present application on the grounds of valuation.
Mantri said: “If plaintiff Rahul Gandhi has a grievance or objection regarding the maintainability of the lawsuit before the chief judge of the division on the grounds of pecuniary jurisdiction of the court, then he may raise the said objection in the same court. competent, who can decide on his merits.
Earlier after the murder of Gauri Lankesh on September 6, 2017, Rahul Gandhi tweeted that “Anyone who speaks against RSS/BJP is attacked and even killed. They want to impose one ideology which is against the nature of India.”
The libel suit was filed in 2019 by Champanerkar who claimed that Gandhi and Yechury have always blamed RSS for any acts of violence and urged that such blaming cease. In this regard, the prosecution pointed to their comments in which both stated that anyone opposing the RSS ideology would be silenced.
Champanerkar demanded a token compensation of Rs 1.
Mantri said: “Article 24 of the CPC does not prescribe to determine the question of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court. Therefore, it could not be appropriate to exercise the powers under the said article to determine the question of the jurisdiction court on the request of the defendant in the lawsuit. Accordingly, I find no substance in the plaintiff’s assertion to transfer the case from the senior judge to the junior judge on the ground of pecuniary jurisdiction.”
The case would now go to the Civil Judge, Main Division.
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