New Delhi, 31 October
The Delhi high court today issued notice to BJP and its Parliamentary Board members to respond to former Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani’s plea challenging his expulsion by the Board in May this year.
The members who received summons include former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP’s present Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Though Jethmalani has made Vajpayee and Modi party in the suit, he has not sought any damage from them. The senior lawyer-cum-politician was sacked from the party in May this year after he openly criticised some of the Board members including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
"Summons to be issued through speed post or courier to the respondents (BJP and board members)," said the Joint Registrar, Hemani Malhotra, and directed them to file replies by 30 January, 2014.
Appearing for Jethmalani, advocate Ashok Arora submitted that there were many other aspirants in the party to become the PM candidate and because of his client, who was supporting Narendra Modi for the Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 general elections, they could not succeed and became aggrieved.
"Being aggrieved of my strong support to Modi, they (board members) had issued statements against me in media and other public fora," said Arora, adding that some members of the board happened to be Jethmalani’s juniors and their behaviour was unwarranted.
To the Joint Registrar’s query whether Jethmalani had tried to reconcile the issue with the party, the counsel said in his suit for damage of Rs 50 lakh from the BJP Parliamentary Board members, except Vajpayee and Modi, Jethmalani sought the court to declare the Board’s decision as "null and void".
In his suit, Jethmalani has also challenged the show cause notice issued to him on 26 November, 2012 by the party. "It was an attempt to damage the plaintiff’s (Jethmalani) reputation," said the counsel.