Monday, 27 June, 2022
HomeOpinionThe problem is not Kejriwal’s apologies, it is India’s defamation law

The problem is not Kejriwal’s apologies, it is India’s defamation law

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If I had these cases against me, I would have apologised on the first day itself. Why waste your energy on an outdated law, which is being used to harass you.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been on an apology train ride lately, sending apology letters to various politicians to shut down the numerous defamation cases they slapped on him. This has not gone down well with a significant section of his supporters.

Defamation laws in India have long been a subject of controversy, and rightly so. Across the developed world, criminal defamation as a law is virtually non-existent, like in the USA and South Africa. It has been abolished in the UK. In most other countries, it requires proof of actual harm caused by a statement, unlike in India. These laws have been blatantly misused by the powerful to curtail the freedom of expression of the weak, often through intimidation of the critics, dissenters and opponents. On top of that, the law is vaguely defined.

The penal consequence of defamation is a fine or imprisonment of up to two years. But the real consequence is the time, energy and, most importantly, the money it requires to defend yourself in court. For the rich and the powerful, it’s easy, but not for others.

Kejriwal has more than two dozen defamation cases against him in 16 different cities across the country. It should be pretty obvious to anybody who knows about the ordeal of court cases in India why he has finally given up on fighting them. The exorbitant amount of money and time that would be required to fight these cases would compete with the time he spends in governing Delhi. If I had these cases against me, I would have apologised on the first day itself. Why waste your energy on an outdated law that is being used to harass you?

Some people, however, think it’s heroic to fight defamation cases. They say the process of fighting itself proves that your statements and accusations are legally true. This stems from a false sense of ego and pride because, in most cases, winning defamation suits is only about insisting on your right to make those statements. It doesn’t even guarantee that you cannot be charged for defamation on your next statement. However, where it does help is in your public image.

Media houses also fight defamation cases, and that fight is important in order to preserve journalistic freedom in the country. In Kejriwal’s case, however, his public image can be somewhat compromised by the apology and backtracking on statements, but it is well worth the time saved for governance. After all, a chief minister’s job is to govern and not fight cases in court all day.

The only question here is, why didn’t Kejriwal apologise earlier? And the answer lies in idealism. Perhaps he wanted to be the hero that some people want him to be. Perhaps he wanted to fight and win all the court cases against ‘evil’ forces, and legally prove all his statements. It would be the most desirable route for him to take, if you ask his supporters. But it is not practical to make this compromise against governance and he has finally realised it. Better late than never.

In the year 1663, the church threatened to burn Galileo at the stake. His only crime — his claim that the planet Earth revolved around the sun. The gravity of the threat posed by the church was too much for Galileo. He realised he would be better off apologising and admitting his ‘mistake’, instead of expending effort trying to convince them otherwise. And he did take back his statement. It was only 350 years later that the church apologised for its mistake.

Similarly, Kejriwal’s apologies do not declare that Majithia or Kapil Sibal or Jaitley are clean politicians. They merely show us that he has retreated from this court to focus on the bigger goal. Others who have more time and money are continuing to fight this battle, even through defamation cases themselves. AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh Azad has said that he will continue to fight the defamation case filed against him by Majithia because he is willing to put in the time and money required. Both decisions are right in their own ways. However, I believe our greater fight should be against the outdated defamation law itself. It is in dire need of reform to protect the freedom of speech in our country.

This whole controversy is not a lesson for people to give up fighting for their rights. It is a lesson in real-world practicality; in when to fight against injustice and when to take a step back sensibly for the greater goal.

The apologies do not diminish a man’s fighting spirit. A true fighter knows which battles are worth fighting and which are to be walked away from.

Dhruv Rathee is an activist and YouTuber.

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74 COMMENTS

  1. Asking questions are really pleasant thing if you are not understanding anything
    completely, however this post presents pleasant understanding yet.

  2. Kejriwal has lost all credibility and only chance for him to be relavent is to join the third front or united opposition which everyone is talking about. In Karnataka AAP is contesting in all seat and noone is even talking abt them, there r few posters here and there. He has made an a$$ of himself with all the antics of questioning army, blaming and accusing everyone against , and calling names to even respected PM.

  3. Arvind Kejriwal will be remembered as a historic leader in the world of politics. Did he give any bribe to kofi Annan to praise his concept of maholla clinic???? Certainly No. He is a true gentleman and a precious gem to common people.He is just getting matured as a politician from his style of bureaucracy. May the almighty give him enough strength to fight against all the evil forces.??In btw , i want to tell the delhi people that 36 lakh rupees were spent to install Air purifiers at our beloved PM office between 2014-2017 from tax taken by us. So much concern to deal with pollution!!

  4. So, you have a great belief in Arvind Kejriwal. By demeaning the commentators, the minds of those who understand the reason behind the apologies, and those who understood the reason after going through the article won’t change towards the coward/bhagoda called AK. Still congratulations to those who have strong faith in AK, who never had a single tooth on his mouth, as we think.

  5. So, you people have a great belief in the criminal justice system of India. By demeaning Rathee, the minds of those who understand the reason behind the apologies, and those who understood the reason after going through the article won’t change towards the fighter called AK. Still congratulations to those who have strong faith in the criminal justice system of India, which never had a single tooth on its mouth, as we think.

  6. Kejriwal has suddenly got the aha realisation. Was he not aware of all these consequences of his actions. Is he that naive- what about all his visits to Vipaasaana meditation camps to become more responsive and less reactive. Has that had no effect on his utterances. ( that organisation should ban him from attending an more camps as he is giving them a bad name)
    Just by mentioning Galileo’s name in that article, why are you defending him– all know you are his all weather friend– how low will you go to defend him–

    All Kejriwal has to say that he is a normal politician– not what he claims- different and better than other politicians – and the public will forgive him– — Acutually his actions are proving that he is one of our regular politicians and we should treat him like one.

    • Those who beg apologies, don’t know it earlier… that’s the reason of apology. But, here, the case is different….as he hasn’t realised his mistake, which was never there. But, realise the fact late that the criminal justice system in India is stale.

  7. Actually there is no problem in any politician, The problem is with the people of the country and their half knowledge of the ground because all are selfish earning money and sitting home and watching piad news channels. The political sense of the people.is very poor. I don’t know what matters if he apologized or not and who voted him to put politician in jail,if they voted him for that then they are fools. People voted for modi and Kejriwal for development and everyone knows who is working and who is not on ground level. People have now become pro parties people. I would suggest poeple to be the people and judge your politician just on their work…these things are just pitty please do not focus on these issues…

  8. The author seems to be moron. If he can think that this case can be compared to Galileo s case then he doesn’t know a thing

  9. Good observation and thought process as always Dhruv. Agree that one needs to fight, but fighting frivolous battles for personal ego satisfaction or media image building need to be sidelined.

    I firmly believe that voters will finally appreciate a leader for the on ground connect and work he does. Empty bravado will only earn you the ‘Feku’ title.

    • There is a need for another title exclusively for SHRI Arvind Kejriwal – ‘CHIRKUT’ (चिरकूट). The meaning can be browsed on the Internet.

  10. Galileo Galilei apologized in 1633, After 359 years that is in 1992, the church apologized Galileo.
    Please Correct this

  11. I think he is absolutely right in asking for apologies. Generally speaking there is no end to these kind of cases. I would rather suggest to those who don’t agree with the article to read a story by Frederick Forsyth- The Previlage ( From – No Comebacks). Arvind Kejariwal was new on a political stage when he said all those names to whoever was in the opposition. He deserves a new start. I agree with the writer.

  12. Do you think all case in court are solved towards truth, this might be illusion. I believe come out court case as possible and focus on right things will make sense. If CM wants go that route I will appreciate him. No one perfect in his life, popular people are highly affected on social media.

  13. Humility, in the face of justice delayed or possibly denied, is not at all bad politics. Mahatma Gandhiji had called off his first nation-wide Satyagraha in India in the wake of violence. Vajapeyee, though after enough dilly-dallying, would have (equivocally) apologized for “inadvertence”. Has Modi or Shah or any of their ilk ever pretended to apologize for the stigma and stinking odour they still carry around?

    • Do Modi and Shah pretend to be holier-than-thou? They are career politicians who always play the grey field. Even Mamta is smarter that way. For Kejriwal all’s evil. He is delusional. And please NO comparison with the Mahatama. There is a difference between Gandhi calling off agitation because of violence and SHRI Kejriwal’s dirty tactics to save his own skin. This insecure ordinary politician is surrounded by sycophants who pump his ego and urge him to save the ship. He seems to have neither a mind of his own nor any moral courage. And spine, he certainly does not have.

  14. Heard Nirav, Mehul, Mallya, Lalit are writing apology letters. Dawood has asked for the draft.

  15. Don’t forget that he took the advantage of those accusations by winning elections, these comments did help him to portray himself as a crusader. What if he had lost the elections? That time also he would have gone on the same path which he has chosen now, don’t think so, also the credentials of journalists should be watched as we the people of India very well know everybody’s agenda now.

  16. What nonsense did he not benefit by these purported falsehoods creating anger amongst the common people he should be penalized for the harm caused for our folk are mostly not too literate and are mostly gullible if this Law is abolished we will have all sorts of politicians sailing in a sea of lies

  17. ध्रुव राठी जी ,ये ताकतवर -बिकाऊ -सुविधाभोगी मीडिया ,जिस प्रकार लगातार भ्रष्ट पूंजीपतियों की दलाली कर रहे पकौड़ा राज नेताओं की चरणपूजा करते हुए ,केजरीवाल की इमेज खराब करने में पूरी ताकत झोंके हुए है ,उसके परिणामस्वरूप बहुत सारे देशभक्त व अच्छे लोग भी केजरीवाल के खिलाफ हो गए हैं।
    पर आने वाला समय इन सभी भरम की गठरियाँ खोल देगा।

  18. For from it Shri Kejriwal wanted to make absurd statements only to prove that he/his party only is the honest, how fearless crusader of corruption he is that he can pick on any party & personality how high & mighty. His accusations have been absolute lies most of the times. Further see the language tone & tenor of his speeches; what rubbish. He was sure he will get away with it. He did get exposure in media which he wanted at the cost of other’s prestige to gain immediate cheap publicity & he thought he will walk away with it. Off late since he is being deserted by his advocates, he has begun to get heat of it. He has woken up with stunt of apologies. Knowing him well enough, soon he Will resort to game again, wait for some political issues or new elections etc.

  19. Justice, since the time of the British raj have been for the rich and the mighty and those in power. It is not for the penniless aam admi. So there is no point in chasing the dream for getting justice for oneself. Better concentrate on work to realize the bigger dream of social justice for the masses.

  20. Your writing makes one think.
    I hope more Indians read this and change their views.

    Good article Dhruv. Much love ✌

  21. Totally agree. Hope everyone understands that Kejriwal well knows which battles to fight. Appreciate his move to apologise to move on to higher goals.

  22. Bhagora! First you make “false” allegations against the rich and the powerful, gets people’s attention…And then when laws catches up with you, you make deals with the same rich and powerful, and say “sorry sir” mistake mistake, I will not do it again.May be this fraud made deal with the rich and powerful to start with, to loot and acquire power. We stupid naive citizens was made to look like a bunch of low IQ jokers.

  23. Galileo must be turning in his grave, courtesy AK’s new spin-doctor dhruv rathi.
    ‘Thank you’ Mr Rathee for exposing your true self.

  24. Waistage of time&,money of CM as well as time ofcourts .I agree with what has been written in artical.

  25. From whatever I have seen about Mr rathee I have always considered him as a logical thinker who talks on tangible facts, Alas!!! I was wrong , like kejriwal whom I had once trusted and voted the idol of Rathee has also crashed to its feet of clay.
    Mr Rathee do you think just by piling intellectual garbage you can fool people. Tell me why wasn’t there a word of criticism in your article for the usuage of foul language of AK which landed him in trouble. Is AK so naive at this age that he lost control over his tongue.
    FYI he has not only been disowned by me and some of his loyal supporters but also by Anna Hazare himself. Tell me Mr Rathee are you really so dumb enough be naive about it.
    The height is that you have the audacity to compare him to Galileo…. really ??? Tommorow you will say that there is no difference between the chalk and cheese. Galileo had apologized to the church only for the sake of saving his life because he spoke the scientific truth, whereas AK has apologized only to evade punishment for which he was entirely responsible.

    If AK as you claim is doing for the sake of governance, why did he hand over the Rajya Sabha seat to moneybags instead Mr vishwas ?? Do you think I, his ex-voter has not noticed it.
    No Mr Rathee take your nonsense to some modi-hater but not a rational person like me.
    Bear in mind that people apart from you also can also think and can discriminate between Journalistic truth and Devil’s advocacy.
    Tc

  26. By apologizing, Mr. Kejriwal does not become any good man . Nor does it mean that from now he is going to make any least difference to the governance . It is all his mean tactices to stay in limelight for whatsoever be the reasons right or wrong.

  27. Arvind Kejriwal’s pet dog is writing an article to glorify him. ???????????????? The only reason behind Kejriwal’s apology is that he has no other option. He will have to face jail term and/or huge monetary losses. Mr Rathee congratulations for setting a new benchmark in boot-licking.

  28. From whatever I have seen about Mr rather I have always considered him as a logical thinker who talks on tangible facts, Alas!!! I was wrong , like kejriwal whom I had once trusted and voted the idol of Rathee has also crashed to its feet of clay.
    Mr Rathee do you think just by piling intellectual garbage you can fool people. Tell me why wasn’t there a word of criticism in your article for the usuage of foul language of AK which landed him in trouble. Is AK so naive at this age that he lost control over his tongue.
    FYI he has not only been disowned by me and some of his loyal supporters but also by Anna Hazare himself. Tell me Mr Rathee are you really so dumb enough be naive about it.
    The height is that you have the audacity to compare him to Galileo…. really ??? Tommorow you will say that there is no difference between the chalk and cheese. Galileo had apologized to the church only for the sake of saving his life because he spoke the scientific truth, whereas AK has apologized only to evade punishment for which he was entirely responsible.

    If AK as you claim is doing for the sake of governance, why did he hand over the Rajya Sabha seat to moneybags instead Mr vishwas ?? Do you think I, his ex-voter has not noticed it.
    No Mr Rathee take your nonsense to some modi-hater but not a rational person like me. Bear in mind that people apart from you also can also think can discriminate between Journalistic truth and Devil’s advocacy.
    Tc

  29. By apologizing, Mr. Kejriwal does not become any good man . Nor does it mean that from now he is going to make any least difference to the governance . It is all his mean tactices to stay in limelight for whatsoever be the reasons right or wrong.

  30. कितना पैसा लेते हो artical लिखने का ।
    मुझे भी लिखवाना है ।

  31. First defame other by accusing of corruption and then apologise,Wow.This article writer looks like AAPtard

  32. Talking of governance, What is it? This word does not exist in Mr. Kejriwal ‘s dictionary. It is his deputy who is at the helm of affairs in Delhi. Kejriwal ji just does press conferences and public meetings or tours to different states, like he flew to handover a bouquet of flowers to Kamal Hassan on launching his party. He is just craving for publicity , he does not bother about people of Delhi. Governance is not his cup oh tea.

  33. I absolutely disagree with writer’s view. Politics is the fight of perception. The way you change your stand in politics voter’s view also changes.
    The biggest example is 2014 general election where BJP successfully created a perception that 3G scam happen and they won but now when accused getting free from supreme court public perception is changing toward Congress too.
    If Kejriwal have won a single case of defamation against him. He would have been Hero.

  34. Astoundingly,appallingly convoluted logic to defend a totally indefensible charlatan by an “activist”!
    So Indian defamation laws are faulty that they don’t let people to throw dirt on anyone and get away Scot free?
    The basic issue is why the hell Kejriwal resorted to such cheap tactics as throwing muck at others,hoping some would stick in public perception.
    This activist author achieved in making himself a fool,in the grand tradition of Kejriwal!

  35. This sorry spree has just prove one fact that AK is no crusader . He is just another political leader of our time who can go to any extend to keep his post or power whatever left .

  36. If you or Kejrival or anyone wants to concentrate on governance or on your work field and not waste precious time on frivolous cases in Courts, on the very outset why did you start wasting your precious time on accusing others? If you accuse someone, you must have evidence to prove it and spend time to prove it. Otherwise it is simply called mud slinging hoping that some mud will stick on opponent’s face. That is what Kejriwal has done. Now to apologise and say that this is for the sake of better governance is just cowardice.

  37. If you or Kejrival or anyone wants to change concentrate on governance or on your work field and not waste precious time on frivolous cases in Courts, on the very outset why do you start wasting your precious time on accusing others? If you accuse someone, you must have evidence to prove it and spend time to prove it. Otherwise it is simply called mud slinging hoping that some mud will stick on opponent’s face. That is what Kejriwal has done. Now to apologise and say that this isn’t s for the sake of better governance is just cowardice.

  38. Well balanced n good article.Kejriwal should concentrate on governance.He is very honest politician ,he should stick to better administration.

  39. Seriously, awesome man this article is in full support of Arvind Kejriwal.
    I didn’t get one thing before making any allegations on anyone from any party this guys AK always told I have proof, then why didn’t he submit them in court who is stopping him.
    The issue is this guy came as a Messiah for anti corruption and to change the poltics but now he actually murdered the hope of every single Indian , and now atleast I can’t trust any new person who join politics based on this situation.

    This guy AK is ridiculous and an oportunist only blame game to malign others no proofs this is how this guy is going to change the politics . He take the poltics to a really low level.

  40. The mental gymnastics used here are legendary! Outdated laws you say?? Absolute crock! What gives AK 42 the right to shoot off allegations and then play the victim card? If you’re claiming something, better stand by your words or not speak at all. This is a pathetic attempt to justify the stupidity of your ‘dear Leader’.

  41. It takes an activist and not a realist, to come up with such a convoluted logic to defend Arvind Kejriwal. Is he author justifying telling of lies? No wonder this term “activist” is looked at with so much suspicion.

  42. “Dhruv Rathee” claims to be an proficient in wide range of areas from ” Nuclear physics” to “Defense Doctrines” and makes Educational videos on them. However the only field his expertise is acknowledged is as “Kejriwal Apologist” . On Jan 5th AAP Rajya Sabha MP: Sushil Gupta filed defamation case against Kapil Mishra, need we say more ? So the greatest polymath after “Leonardo da vinci”, “Dhruv Rathee” is not just an apologist but an Hypocrite too !!

  43. Hahaha. I can’t help myself from laughing after reading this article.
    He is apologizing because he is a ‘bhagoda’. He runs away from problems and he is running away from this too. He has made it amply clear in the past that he thinks he is the only ‘dhoodh ka Shila hua’ and everyone is a chor. He does not even have the tenacity to confront the so called chors. This is not about Majithia or Gadkari. This is a mirror to the personality that’s called ‘kejriwal’. Once a bhagoda always a bhagoda.
    And of course you Mr.Rathee have an agenda. You have made it clear today.

  44. Writer is a cunning supporter of a lier politician who gain his political position by defaming other and now trying to escape from consequences . If Kejeiwal is so gentle and true why he alleged such blames to other in support of which he even not able to produce a single document in court and now running from battle in name of governance . Tell me one thing , is Kejeiwal single man in party to handle all issue related to governance or he did not know the consequences before he made false allegation . He come to power for revolution which die soon after he take oath , and now Kejeiwal telling us that the need of so called revolution was based on lies which he frame to get power . And most important is question now what is real motive of defeated , u turn master , lier , corrupt , Kejeiwal .

  45. Why it is diffulcut suddenly now?
    Did he not understand this simple thing when he mde allegations? and leave everything else aside, what about his credibility then? Why should we trust whatever he says, he may simply send a pology letter to the people of Delhi and then to people of India.
    Plus what would you say about apology to those against whom he has no proof, and bear-hug and handshkae with the one convicted by court in multiple cases (read Laluprasad Yadav).
    He is just trying to save his “a**” now.

    And now please dont involve galileo here otherwise Kejriwal would owe and apology to him also.

    • Ha ha .. he went to the oath ceremony of Shri Nitish Kumar now the champion of Bhakts. So what would you do if someone comes across and comes and shake his hand and hugs him ?? Typical Bhakt you are.

  46. Dhruv Rathee is a person who can never see a wrong in Kejriwal. Although, on apology front I agree you Dhruv but wud u ever muster courage to criticize Kejriwal on expulsion of Grand people like PB , YY. In fact, in long run you are only ill-wisher of AAP.

  47. AAP IT cell at it again to save face. When Kejriwal loses in the next Delhi elections they’ll compare him to Jesus.

  48. Good to see this stupid article. Sometimes I feel that english newspapers have their own agendas. Now you guys are blamming the Law. Its all about credibility of a leader. Blindly defamting someone for his/her political good, not good for the cou try.

    But ‘The Print’ has its own agenda.

    • You have to remember that this site is founded by sickulars Mr Shekhar Gupta and Mrs Burkha Dutt not to mention the writer Mr Dhruv Rathee thinks that “Journalism at its core is about being anti government”
      The only thing that matter to people like these is how to spin the narrative to potray themselves as victims.

  49. When is he going to apologize for calling Prime minister a psychopath. Oh, he need not as there is no case filed right? This means he apologizes to people who file case against him and get away with everything else.

    • Although you go by one side but we are people who must see that both sides made controversial comments such as modiji also said AK-49 and naxalite and Pakistani agent. That’s words just used during their rallies , and when they meet , they are seen smiling and talking like friends , it’s the same with almost every politician in India

    • Laugh out loud for your comment. Of course the idea is to apologies for those who had got him to court and he is wasting time and money to fight it. Didn’t the writer clearly mentioned it and even then you can’t understand and behave naive person ???

  50. Ludicrous justification of sheer stupidity.
    He knows very well that a conviction in such a case would end his political career. Being blabber mouth can win you some elections but wont take u far.

  51. If SHRI Kejriwal wants to achieve anything worthwhile in his life, he should behave and become like Roger Federer. But that would be too much of a reinvention of personality??

  52. Instead of opening his mouth to utter nonsense, he should have concentrated on building bipartisan support from day 1 for achieving his vision of governance. Does the leopard change his spots? Will SHRI Kejriwal – whose ego is bigger than his brain – stay quiet and focused, or will he run away with his chanchal ambitious mind to new adventures, only time will tell!!

    • Here you are totally BS man. Classic Bhakt. You don’t want him to live and focus on what he is best in doing. Good governance.

      • You calling every one a bhakt who criticizes your big ass*hle, looks like you are the one assigned toe job to rub kujliwals as* whenever he gets kujli.. great going…. lOL

        • hahahaha well replied ….. the frustrated loser continue to make a moron of themselves like the current AAP

      • u must be the same coward like AK n his apologist D Rathee…..typical AAPig stink…… we love to see these AApigs get trolled n conducting self humiliating humour .. i love the writers frustrated irritated defense of the fallen from grace politician and we need toget rid of these anarchists …

  53. Well written article . Summary of cases /cities in which cases have been put up , should have been there .

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