New Delhi: A local court on Monday asked Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to appear before it on April 5 in connection with a defamation case filed by her against former city BJP chief Vijender Gupta.

Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chauhan directed the Chief Minister to appear before it on the next date after allowing her plea for exemption from personal appearance for a day.

"The complainant (Dikshit) has to be appear in person positively on the next date of hearing in the case... If she fails to come then the case can be dismissed," the judge said while fixing April 5, as the next date of hearing in the case.

Allowing her plea for exemption from personal appearance, the court said, "I cannot compel her to come at this stage, as the matter is at framing of notice.

"Let the matter come for complainant evidence, then also if she is not coming then the court will decide it (whether she has to appear in court or not) at that stage. It is upto the discretion of the court."

The court's direction came after Gupta's counsel, Ajay Verman and Ajay Digpaul told the judge that the arguments in the case can proceed further only if the Chief Minister, "who is deliberately avoiding the court's orders", shall remain present before the court or else her case should not be entertained.

To this, Dikshit's counsel, Mehmood Pracha informed that she is more than willing to come on every date, but due to her prior engagements at Rashtrapati Bhavan today she is seeking exemption from personal appearance for the day.

"She has moved an exemption application for today and she has to attend Indira Gandhi Peace Award function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan," Pracha said.

The court on November 9, 2012 had asked Dikshit to appear before it on February 18, 2013.

Dikshit had filed the criminal defamation case against Gupta alleging that the BJP leader used "uncivilised" language against her before the April 15, 2012 MCD polls.


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