Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by PDP leader and former minister Nayeem Akhtar, seeking quashing of a defamation case filed against him and the party colleague Nizamuddin Bhat in 2010 by then government for accusing the Chief Minister of the time, Omar Abdullah, of receiving kickbacks in allotting Rattle Power project.
The defamation case was filed by the government through then the Public Prosecutor Abdul Aziz Teli before Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, seeking action against the PDP leaders under Sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (Punishment for defamation) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) for levelling “false and baseless” accusations, at a presser on 25 August 2010, against Omar that he received kickbacks to the tune of Rs 500 crore in the allotment of Rattle power project. The PDP leaders have been also accused to have made a defamatory allegation regarding exorbitant expenditure incurred on the construction of official residence of the Chief Minister and pilferage of certain priceless antiques from the State Toshakhana.
The trial court took cognizance of the complaint on 29 September 2010 and issued process besides bailable warrant in the amount of Rs.20,000 each for securing presence of the PDP leader.
Feeling aggrieved of the proceedings, Akhtar moved the high court, seeks quashment on the “edifice” of case and grounds taken in petition by the Public Prosecutor. He had prayed the high court to quash the proceedings in exercise of extraordinary and inherent power 561-A CrPC (equivalent to Section 482 of the Central CrPC), to prevent abuse of the process of court and to otherwise secure the ends of justice.
Senior lawyer Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, representing Nayeem Akhtar, submitted that the complaint has led to “serious abuse of process of court” as allegations if taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against his client. “Whatever the petitioner (Akhtar) averred, was asserted in good faith which squarely falls under Eighth Exception of Section 499,” he had argued.
Senior Assistant solicitor General B A Dar on the other handed stated that complainant (public prosecutor) has made out a “triable case” and “at this juncture veracity of evidence cannot be gone
“To prove good faith for protection of interest of a person making it, it is he, who makes or contends good faith has to prove and this is a premature stage to consider the material placed by complainant,” he said, adding, “One of the accused, Nizam ud din Bhat against whom process has also been issued, has not challenged the order nor has he joined petitioner (which also calls for the dismissal of the present petition)”.
After hearing both the sides, a bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul dismissed Akhtar’s plea being “bereft of any merit.” The court asked the parties to appear before the Trial Court on July 20.