The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to stay the Delhi Commission for Women’s (DCW) summons to AAP leader Kumar Vishwas issued on a party volunteer’s complaint.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher, however, issued notices to DCW, chairperson Barkha Singh and the woman Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteer on a plea moved by Vishwas seeking stay on the summons.
“Issue notice to DCW, Respondent 3 (Barkha Singh). Issue notice also to Miss X (the AAP volunteer who has filed complaint before DCW)”, the court said while directing the registry of the Delhi High Court to serve the copy of the petition filed by the petitioner (Vishwas) to the respondents.
The court notices were issued after Vishwas filed an amended memo of parties, including the Delhi government, on the direction of the court’s earlier order. The judge, however, asked Vishwas’ counsel Somnath Bharti to file a fresh memo of parties along with an application before it by following a proper procedure.
Delhi government’s standing counsel Raman Duggal, who was present in the court on advance intimation given by the petitioner, also said that the government is not required as a party in the present matter. The court then deleted the Delhi government as a party in the case after the AAP leader’s counsel also failed to justify its presence in the matter.
While deleting the Delhi government as a party from the case, the court noted in its order that a submission was made on behalf of the government that it is not required in the matter. The court also declined Vishwas’s prayer that the summons should be stayed, saying let the (respondents) come back first with their replies, then it will think over it.
“No, I will not stay the summons at this stage,” the judge said.
The court then fixed the matter for further hearing on July 1. During the proceedings, the court was “annoyed and surprised” over the way Bharti filed the amended memo of parties without filing any application, and was of the view that if he want to get some order, it has to be done as per the procedure.
“First you have to make a case. The procedural aspect has to be in place,” the court said.
The court on being informed about the woman’s complaint before DCW, the judge said all the aspects will be heard when he will proceed according to law. It also objected to Bharti’s contention about the media’s presence in the court room saying, “You should not get burdened (by) what is happening outside.
“This is a public hearing and it is something which allows the person interested in the matter to attend the hearings,” the court said.
Earlier, on May 15 also, the court had refused to give any interim relief to Vishwas on his plea challenging the summons issued to him.
The court was of the view that there was “defect” in the plea and had said that the AAP volunteer should have been made a party in the case as it was on her complaint that the summons were issued. The judge had, while refusing to stay the summons, said that grant of any relief at this stage, without the presence of the complainant, would be “like putting the cart before the horse”.
Questioning the authority of DCW to issue such summons claiming it had no jurisdiction to deal with the issue raised by the complainant, the petitioner has also sought that the woman be restrained from making any public statement.
Vishwas has also claimed that DCW chairperson Barkha Shukla Singh was working with some “political vendetta”.
The Commission had first asked Vishwas, his wife and two others to appear before it on May 4 and later issued fresh summons for May 6 after they failed to appear.
Acting on the woman’s complaint, the Commission had said that the volunteer had worked for the party for a year in Amethi and now it was a matter of her respect and honour. So Kumar Vishwas should turn up and give his clarification.
The woman had said she had campaigned alongside Vishwas, who was pitted against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi during 2014 Lok Sabha polls. She had received a message on social media, first on Facebook and later on WhatsApp, showing her picture as the female volunteer Vishwas was accused of having illicit relationship with.
Demanding that Vishwas’ wife should come forward and give an explanation, the woman had said that she filed a complaint at Nand Nagri Police Station here in this regard on March 29.
However, the police did not pay heed to her complaint, she had alleged.