Also Read- Ram Jethmalani cross examined Arun Jaitley in court: Part 2

Cross examination of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani led to drama in the courtroom Monday as the latter raised a range of issues — from Jaitley’s command over English to his knowledge of the Civil Procedure Code to whether the minister had “personal feeling of greatness that cannot be quantified in fiscal measure”. Full Text is as follows :- 

Item No. 10

06.03.2017

CS (OS) 3457/2015

PW1 Statement of Shri Arun Jaitley, recalled for further cross-examination after 06.12.2016.

On S.A.

XXXXX by Shri Ram Jethmalani, Sr. Advocate for defendant no. 1.

I started practising as an Advocate in 1977. (Volunteered. In between my tenure as Minister and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, I had my professional licence put in abeyance). I practised predominately in the civil side and I also did some criminal matters. I have seen hundreds of claims on the civil side in my practice and I am familiar with the rules of Code of Civil Procedure. I am familiar with the requirements of the clauses of the verification of the plaint.

Question No.1: Are you aware that you are required to state in your plaint which of the facts are based on your personal knowledge and which are derived from other sources which you believed to be true? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff being a question of law).

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is a question of law and not fact and otherwise also the witness has already answered that he is familiar with the rules of Code of Civil Procedure.

Question No.2: Have you in your professional career seen a verification similar to that in the present plaint?

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is irrelevant to the outcome of this case.

Question No.3: I put it to you that para no. 17, 18 & 19 of the plaint contain facts. What do you have to say?

Answer: Para no. 17 to 19 contain the necessary legal requirement with regard to the date when the cause of action arose for filing the plaint, the territorial jurisdiction clause and the pecuniary jurisdiction clause.

Question No.4: I put it to you that no facts which constitute a part of cause of action are derived from any advise or information given by the lawyer. What do you have to say? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff being a matter of argument).

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is a matter of arguments and not a matter of fact.

Question No.5: Are you aware that this suit is for recovery of damages for a tort, which in civil law is known as slander or libel?

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is a question of law.

Question No.6: I put it to you that the entire plaint does not mention about slander or libel at any place. What do you have to say? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff being a matter of record).

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is a matter of record.

Question No.7: In the entire plaint, you have used the phrases of criminal law as if you are claiming damages of defamation which is a criminal offence in India and not a civil tort? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff being a matter of law).

Court observation: Question is disallowed as is a matter of record.

Question No.8: Is there any particular reason as to why you have not mentioned about slander or libel in your plaint? (Objected to by the counsel for plaintiff)

Answer: The substance of the facts in the plaint is clear and so is the injury caused to my reputation.

Question No.9: I put it to you that as per the plaint, paragraph 16 at page no. 13, the defendants made the defamatory statements on five dates. What do you have to say? (Objected to by counsel for plaintiff being a matter of record).

Answer: The allegations made by the defendants against me are made over several days and constitute a permanent record on the print, digital and electronic media

Question No.10: The alleged defamatory statements were made from 15111 to 20ffi December, 2015 and the suit was filed on 21.12.2015. What do you have to say?

Answer: It is correct.

Question No.11: Damage is ‘irreversible’ if you made an effort to repair it but did not succeed. Is it correct? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff as it is matter of opinion).

Court observation: The cross-examination is not to check the general knowledge or the knowledge of the English of the witness as such the question is disallowed.

Question No.12: Did you make any effort to reverse the alleged damage before coming to the court?

Answer: I contradicted the allegations made against me in the public space available.

Question No.13: Give some details of the efforts made by you to reverse the alleged allegations.

Answer: I contradicted the allegations in the media and also in the Parliament where echoes of these allegations were raised.

Question No.14: How did you, during those six days, find that the damage is irreversible?

Answer: Notwithstanding my denial, these allegations continued to be raised both in the media and before the Parliament, they were also raised in the State Assembly of Delhi. Those who raised it did not factor in my denial. It was therefore obvious that irreparable damage has been done to my reputation.

Question No.15: How did you discover this before you filed your suit on 21.12.2015?

Answer: I have already answered this question.

Question No.16: Are you going to tell us that any serious effort was made by you to reverse the alleged damage before filing this suit?

Answer: My denials were a serious effort.

Question No.17: You are evading the answer to this question that what serious efforts were made by you before filing the suit on the next day?

Answer: I have already answered this question.

Question No.18: I have not heard the answer to this question and please tell where you have answered this question?

Answer: I have already answered it. It is wrong to suggest that I am not telling that I made efforts but nobody believed me. It is wrong to suggest that it compelled me to make the statement that the damage is irreversible.

Question No.19: What is the meaning of the word `unquantifiable damage’ used by you in para no. 16 of the plaint?

Answer: I believe that considering my stature, background and reputation, the loss caused to me and my reputation was so enormous that it could be considered unquantifiable.

Question No.20: In other words, it was your own personal feeling about your own greatness that it cannot be quantified in fiscal measure. What do you have to say?

Answer: My view about my own reputation was based on what my friends, well wishers and other people both privately and in the media, who had expressed an opinion on this subject.

Question No.21: In other words, you are telling that you cannot assign any objective rational reason but it depends where you place yourself. What do you have say?

Answer: The value I placed towards loss of my reputation in this suit is only a small part of the enormous damage caused.

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Question No.22: You have not suffered any monetary damage as a result of this and that is why you have called it by the expression `unquantifiable damage’. In other words, you neither lost any income nor money. What do you have to say?

Answer: The loss of my reputation has been partly quantified in terms of money in my claim.

Question No.23: For which it is your only inner logic in mind and nothing objective, which you can share with the Court. What do you have to say?

Answer: A person’s reputation operates in the public space and so does the loss of reputation. In addition it causes pain and mental distress to the person defamed, which it did in my case.

Question No.24: You do not claim in this figure of Rs. 10 crores there is any loss of income or property. What do you have to say?

Answer: The nature of my claim has been clearly set out in the plaint.

Question No.25: Please describe the portion of the plaint where you have so mentioned.

Answer: In specific it is set out in paragraphs 13 to 16 of the plaint.

Question No.26: In the urgent application filed with the plaint, you have referred to your rights being violated. Which right you are referring to in this application?

Answer: My counsel’s letter dated 21.12.2015 to the Deputy Registrar for urgent listing refers to ‘rights of the plaintiff intends to convey that on account of a continuous and sustained campaign of the defendants, there is a loss of my reputation and hence an urgent listing is required.

At this stage, further cross-examination of the witness is deferred for lunch and to be resumed after lunch.

RO&AC                                          AMIT KUMAR (DHJS)

March 06, 2017                          JOINT REGISTRAR (JUDICIAL)

————————————————————

Item No. 10

06.03.2017

CS (OS) 3457/2015

PW1   Statement of Shri Arun Jaitley, recalled for further cross-examination in continuation to the cross-examination conducted before lunch today i.e. 06.03.2017.

On S.A.

XXXXX by Shri Ram Jethmalani, Sr. Advocate for defendant no.1.

Question No.27: You have used the word ‘goodwill’ in the letter addressed to Deputy Registrar filed along with the plaint. Are you aware about the difference between goodwill and reputation?

Answer: There are over lapping areas in the meaning of  the two words and the counsel’s letter dated 21.12.2015 in that sense uses them interchangeably.

Court observation: The said letter is marked as Ex. C-1.

This letter is signed and drafted by my Advocate and the choice of the word ‘goodwill’ is of my lawyer. I do not remember whether I read Ex. C-1 when the plaint was filed. did not pay much attention to this letter Ex. C-1 before coming to the court today. It is wrong to suggest that the words `goodwill’ and the ‘reputation’ are totally different.

Question No.28: I am showing you an authoritative dictionary of English language i.e. Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary. Do you see the difference in the meaning of these two words provided in this dictionary? (Objected to by the counsel for the plaintiff for the reason that only a document can be confronted to the witness).

Court observation: The question is disallowed as same has to be argued and witness cannot be confronted with a dictionary for the meaning of two English words.

Question No.29: I put it to you that ‘goodwill’ is enjoyed even by a crook, who has done some good thing to somebody. What do you have to say?

Court observation: Question is disallowed as has no bearing on the issues in this case.

Question No.30: It is correct that men in power, who do good things for their good friends enjoy a lot of goodwill?

Court observation: Question disallowed as no general observations of the witness are called for and only specific question can be asked which relates to the facts of the case.

Question No.31: Do you agree that reputation does not stiffer from these types of defects as goodwill suffers?

Court observation: Question disallowed as no general  observations of the witness are called for and only specific question can be asked which relates to the facts of the case.

Question No.32: Kindly point out those portions of the plaint, which are based on the knowledge derived by you from the electronic and print media as referred in verification clause of the plaint. Answer: The defamatory allegations made individually and collectively by the defendants are contained in paragraph no. 5 of the plaint and they have been extensively reported in media.

Question No.33: Are you sure that the entire averment made in para no. 5 of the plaint was derived by you from the electronic and print media?

Answer: Statements contained in para no. 5 have been extensively reported in the print, electronic media as also on the social handles and this information is derived from these sources.

Question No.34: Have you filed those documents on record of this case from where you derived such information?

Answer: I have extensively filed those documents.

Question No.35 Obviously all those documents must be of a date prior to the date of filing of this suit. What do you have to say?

Answer: It is a matter of record. I have quoted those documents in Para no. 5 of my plaint and the supporting documents are on record.

Question No.36: Please identify those documents from the record.

Answer: Those documents start with Ex. PW1 /1 and continue thereafter. In relation to the statements made by each one of the defendants, the documents are already exhibited in my examination-in-chief with the defamatory imputations specifically marked on each document.

Question No.37 : Since how long in the politics of this country, you have known defendant no.1?

Answer: I have known about defendant no. 1 during the last one decade on account of his political and public activities.

Question No.38: At no time, defendant no.1 has made any statement against you prior to the one mentioned in the plaint. What do you have to say?

Answer: He could have made political statements critical of me in the past, some of which I remember but not statements relating to imputations of personal integrity against me.

Question No. 39: At no time before this suit, defendant no.1 made any statement which could give you any cause of action or complaint?

Answer: I never complain against political criticism but it is for the first time when personal imputations questioning my integrity were made.

Question No. 40: Is it correct that the reason why you have filed this suit for the first time is described in para no. 4 of your plaint?

Answer: It is described in para no. 4 and also in several other parts of the plaint.

Question No.41: The basic fact has been described in para no. 4 but anything repeated in further paragraphs that is only a repetition of what is stated in para no. 4 and nothing new is added?

Answer: It is incorrect since the defamatory imputations used by the defendants and mentioned by me in para no. 5 are in addition to what I have said in Para no. 4.

Question No.42: Can you mark those portions in the remaining part of the plaint, other than para no. 4 which relate to same subject matter as in para no.4? (Objected to by counsel for plaintiff as the witness has already answered this question).

Court observation: The witness has already stated that the other portions of the plaint are addition to para no. 4.

Question No. 43: You have talked about a raid in your plaint. This raid took place in part of the office premises occupied by defendant no. 1 . What do you have to say?

Answer: This fact is not within my knowledge. I only know from the media that a search has taken place in the office of a bureaucrat.

Question No.44 : And media stated nothing more than that which was of relevance to you. What do you have to say?

Answer: I recollect reading from the media that defendant no.1 and maybe some others had alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation had conducted the raid to take away some files where they alleged that I was named. I am personally unaware of any such details.

Question No.45: You have never believed that this raid has anything to do with the defendants making defamatory statements against you. What do you have to say?

Answer: The defendants made defamatory statements against me immediately after this raid. Their effort was to deflect the attention from this raid and somehow link me to a controversy with which I had no connection.

Question No.46: This officer, whose premises was searched on that day, was an old officer of previous Delhi Government and AAP Government inherited that officer. What do you have to say?

Answer: I have no personal knowledge of these facts.

Question No.47 : Do you know that the search in question that took place was because some documents relating to the DDCA were expected to be found? Answer: I had no prior knowledge of this raid nor have I ever been privy to the facts of this raid.

Question No.48 : Are you aware that the Delhi Government i.e. government of defendant no.1 was contemplating the appointment of a commission of inquiry in respect of some matters connected with DDCA?

Answer: I had left the President-ship of DDCA in 2013. In December, 2015, I had no interest in the activities of this association nor I was keeping myself acquainted with all details. I did not know at the time of these allegations that Delhi Government was contemplating any commission of inquiry.

Question No.49 : Do you atleast know whether any inquiry was ordered by AAP government particularly its Deputy Chief Minister about some matter connected with DDCA?

Answer: I am only aware from media that some inquiry in the later part of 2015 was ordered by Delhi Government with regard to DDCA. The said inquiry was headed by a serving bureaucrat. I also read in the media that that bureaucrat Mr. Sanghi had written to the Home Secretary, Govt. of India seeking a posting in the Govt. of India since the State Government felt offended by him for his having refused to name ‘a certain VIP’ in the DDCA inquiry.

Question No. 50: Your knowledge was that acting on that man’s report the AAP Govt. was thinking about appointment of a commission of inquiry. What do you have to say?

Answer: I was unaware of this fact when this plaint was filed. I was only aware through media of the inquiry committee which was headed by this bureaucrat.

Question No. 51: Long after making the report, that bureaucrat became your friend. What do you have to say?

Answer: It is incorrect. I do not recollect ever having met him.

It is wrong to suggest that I and my government did not like this report and we befriended him and my government asked him to go back from his report.

Question No. 52: Have you read the original report made by him till today?

Answer: Subsequently, I have read the copy of the report.

I do not recollect who showed it to me. It is wrong to suggest that that bureaucrat himself showed his report to me.

At this stage, further cross-examination of the witness is deferred on the request of counsel for defendant no.1.

RO&AC                                                  AMIT KUMAR (DHJS)

March 06, 2017                                  JOINT REGISTRAR (JUDICIAL)

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9 responses to “Ram Jethmalani cross examined Arun Jaitley in court: Part 1”

  1. Govind Gupta says:

    Thanks Taxguru for providing this cross examination details.
    Though many questions asked by Mr. Ram Jethmalani were disallowed or irrelevant but Kudos to Mr. Arun Jailtely for facing them with lot of patience.

  2. Subhash Sharma says:

    Please publish rest of this ‘cross examination’ too to give the readers an idea how senior advocates try to confuse what otherwise appears so obvious.

  3. Varaprasad Daitha says:

    The cross examination of a senior advocate of another competent advocate i.e. Mr Jaitley should be read by all law students, practicing lawyers, bureaucrats who are directly involved in recording statements to give a fair idea of conducting an examination and possible cross examination. Such an opportunity comes very rarely.

  4. karpakarajan says:

    if a senior advocate is repeated making questions that are disallowed, can the advocate not be booked for intimidating the questioned and wasting the court’s time.

    • Radhakrishnan says:

      Unfortunately, the Court lacks that power. Jeth***** is notorious for back stabbing all the people but for whom his name would have been effaced in Indian polity, It is BJP which made him an MP. It is Shri Modi made him again an M.P. He has no qualms of eating out the palms of Lallu for a Rajya Sabha seat. He vainly contested against Vajpayee too. By his antics, he tries to be in the lime light by collecting crores of rupees from all discredited people for defending them.

  5. yogesh s limaye says:

    thanks to taxguru team for making it available..:)

  6. Sandeep sharma says:

    Instead of proving allegations made against Jaitley, the paragon of honesty and transparency AKJ, is hiding behind technical tricks of old fox.

    • Radhakrishnan says:

      well said. It is high time that Ram Jeth*****i, who can never be trusted by any good person is suffering from senility and indulging in word games. He is trying to be in the news notwithstanding his losing his good sense, by appearing for all sorts of discredited people like Lallu, AKJ. It is high time Bar Council of India, cancels his certificate of practice for indulging in cheap politics in the garb of defending clients.

  7. Krishjoshi says:

    What about the relatives living abroad. How they be givenAdhaR Card? How they will travel by train? Will their passport,POI, Will be accepted as identity proof?

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