A court in Punjab recently issued notice and summoned Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in a ₹100-crore civil suit filed for allegedly making defamatory statements against Bajrang Dal [Hitesh Bhardwaj v. Mallikarjun Kharge].
On May 12, Civil Judge (Junior Division) at Sangrur, Ramandeep Kaur ordered,
"Let, notice to defendant be issued through ordinary process as well as registered post…”
The suit was filed by Hindu Suraksha Parishad's president Hitesh Bhardwaj, arguing that the manifesto issued by the Indian National Congress during the Karnataka elections had defamed the Bajrang Dal.
The suit, filed through advocate Lalit Kumar Garg, contended that the political manifesto had equated the Bajrang Dal, a unit of the Hindu Suraksha Parishad, with outlawed outfits such as the Popular Front of India (PFI) and Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
“The Bajrang Dal under the aegis of the Hindu Suraksha Parishad believes in universalism, tolerance, dharmic, unity, national integrity and service towards Bharat Mata and in doing so seeks inspiration from the reverential example of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman who are the ideal embodiment of dharma and service (sic),” the suit said.
Bhardwaj further claimed that his outfit was devoted to the service of mankind while its credentials were “unassailable and impeachable”.
Referring to the Congress’ manifesto, Bhardwaj highlighted that its release to general public had injured reputation and brought the plaintiff contempt and ridicule.
“Plaintiff also reserves his right to file a criminal complaint as well as a criminal case in a competent court of India as well as Sangrur,” added his plea.
While seeking ₹100 crore worth in damages, the suit claimed an additional ₹10 lakh towards “legal assistance”.
Post issuance of notice to the Congress' chief, the matter has been posted on July 10 for his "appearance".