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RamJet sours on NaMo, explains defamation law & why defending Kejriwal pro-bono against Jaitley

Senior counsel and Rajya Sabha parliamentarian Ram Jethmalani in an interview in Scroll talks about why he’s representing Arvind Kejriwal pro bono against Arun Jaitley’s defamation actions ("Kejriwal got in touch with me and I promptly said to him, ‘Yes, I will surely represent you.’"):

Is it unusual for a person to file both civil and criminal defamation cases?

Yes, first of all, I believe his [Jaitley’s] game is that he will try to get an injunction against the repetition of the statements of which he is complaining. For this, he will use the civil suit. He, anyway, has no intention of going ahead with that suit. (Laughs)

I know the tricks of the trade. Jaitley thinks through the criminal case he will strike fear in his opponents. I hope, by now, he has been disillusioned on this count. (Laughs) As it is, in a defamation case, the complainant turns into an accused...

I, personally, think Jaitley has taken a very ill-advised step... He shouldn’t have gone to the court. These are matters you must fight in the court of the people.

I never, never, never advise people to go to court, particularly so when there exist some questionable aspects of their public life. Even Kejriwal might not know about it, but which his lawyer perhaps would know better. (Laughs) That is why it was so ill-advised of Jaitley to have taken the step of going to court. He should have handled it politically. Ultimately, the people of India have to judge you...

Meanwhile, his initial love affair with the current BJP government is well and truly over:

[The government’s inaction in seeking the names of black money holders from Germany] is why from being the greatest supporter of Modi I have now turned into his greatest critic...

I said that this was because I am an educated person who has 75 years of experience as a criminal lawyer, and how it was that Modi made a fool of me. I said that even though I had been expelled from the BJP, I worked for him during the 2014 election campaign.

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