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Case of the week: ML Sharma files petition against AAP anti-defamation circular

A petition seeking quashing of the Delhi government’s decision to file defamation cases against media organisations for publishing or broadcasting defamatory news about Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was filed in the Delhi high court on Wednesday.

The public interest litigation, filed by advocate ML Sharma, said the circular was “issued in the interest of the chief minister and his council of ministers, to protect their interest against the print/electronic media”.

It said the circular was “a clear case of misuse of public office for his (Kejriwal’s) personal interest and had nothing to do with the general public for which he holds the office”.

According to the circular issued by the city government’s information and publicity department, if any officer associated with the Delhi government feels that a published or aired item damages his or the government’s reputation, he should file a complaint with the principal secretary (home).

The circular also stated that a case can be filed after getting a go-ahead from the director (prosecution) and approval from the law department.

Advocate Sharma said a public office cannot be used for personal interest in any manner.

Claiming that the circular was a clear case of corruption by the chief Minister for having pecuniary advantage via misuse of public office and fund for his personal interest without any approval from the governor, the petitioner sought action against Kejriwal under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The petitioner said the circular was issued to save Kejriwal and kill the freedom of the press as well as the general public’s rights.

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