After Lawsuit filed By Jaitley Against Kejriwal, is it right that citizens pay Kejriwal lawyers fees

We all know that New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is facing a civil and criminal defamation suit filed by the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, and Kejriwal has advocate Ram Jethmalani is defending Kejriwal in the court.

Arun Jaitley has filed criminal defamation against not only Delhi CM but also other AAP leaders and spokespersons including Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Deepak Bajpai and Raghav Chadha over their statements regarding the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) controversy in which they have maligned the reputation of Arun Jaitley. If the charges are proved true, they all may face jail sentence of upto 2 years and may also need to pay Rs. 10 crore as damages.

Ram Jethmalani is one of the best lawyers and of course, a costly one too. As per the documents that Times Now has accessed, Jethmalani has sent a bill of Rs 3.42 crore to Kejriwal, which the Delhi government is planning to pay with the taxpayer’s money. The bill dated Dec 1, 2016 shows that Jethmalani has charged Rs. 1 crore as retainership fees and Rs. 22 lakh per appearance and not to forget the crosss-examination.

As per the documents, on Dec 6, 2016, deputy CM of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, wrote a file saying that the bill should be passed as the matter was related to the raids conducted bu CBI on CM office on December 15, 2015, during which many files were seizd by CBI.

The file further read:

“The Chief Minister made statements in the media explaining the stand of the government on such raids. Defamation cases, criminal as well as civil, were filed against the CM pursuant to the statements made in his official capacity.”

On Dec 7, 2016, the litigation branch of Delhi government’s law department refused to pass the bill as it stated that instead of law department, the file needed approval of the department of which the files were seized during the raids of CBI. Moreover, it also needed approvals from the finance department and the lieutenant governor of New Delhi.

On Dec 21, 2016, Manish Sisodia opposed the advice of LG’s approval as he responded “this file need not be sent to the LG for his approval. Instead it should be sent to the concerned administrative department, the GAD (general administrative department)” which should give its compliance at the earliest, “preferably within a day”.

The CM passed the file the same day and it was sent to Gopal Rai, the minister in-charge of GAD, who approved it on Feb 27, 2017, and sent it to LG for post-facto approval.

As per a legal expert, this case is being fought by both of them in their personal capacities and if Kejriwal wanted to make it a case against Delhi CM, he should have used Section 80 of Civil Procedure Code which he hasn’t.

Meanwhile, Jethmalani has noticed that a lot is talked about his services and charges; he offered to defend Kejriwal for free if he can’t pay his fees. Jethmalani said,

“Even if government doesn’t pay of he can’t pay, I will appear for free, will treat him as one of my poor clients.”

He added,

“All this is instigated by Arun Jaitley who’s afraid of my cross-examination.”

Jethmalani has also stated that he provides services for free to the poor and only charges from the rich.