New Delhi: Political parties on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court order putting on hold the Delhi government s circular that called for criminal defamation cases against the media. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress quickly reacted to the apex court s observation that accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of following double standards.
It said that seeking suspension of criminal defamation proceedings against himself but issuing a circular permitting action against media groups for allegedly defamatory reporting reflected "dichotomy". "They not only wanted to gag the media but gag common citizens, political parties and their leaders.
It was undemocratic and not in the interest of the democracy as a whole," Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said of Delhi s ruling party. "I am very happy that SC has issued this order. The circular no longer would be valid," he added. The BJP echoed the same view. "It was untenable in the court of law, but he went ahead because of his anarchistic approach towards governance. Kejriwal has been given a tight rap by the Supreme Court on his anarchist approach," BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said.
Former Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan said the "double standard" of Kejriwal have been exposed. The Kejriwal government on May 6 issued a circular that if any person was aggrieved by any publication of a news item, that person can refer it to the Delhi home department which, in consultation with the law department, can grant sanction prosecution of the media house publishing the news, leading to a defamation case.