A local court on Thursday accepted the jurisdiction of a criminal defamation suit filed by suspended Gujarat IAS officer Pradeep Sharma against columnist-activist Madhu Kishwar with regard to the snooping scandal.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) H G Pandya today while deciding the jurisdiction issue of the suit, said it is maintainable.
The court had heard arguments by Sharma's counsel regarding the jurisdiction of the matter and had reserved its order for today on December 5.
ACJM has kept the matter for further hearing on January 18 and Sharma has been asked to depose on that day and file a statement on affidavit.
After going through the documents and evidences produced on record, Pandya observed that the jurisdiction of the criminal defamation suit is maintainable in this court.
Sharma has alleged Kishwar dragged his name in the scandal and tried to tarnish his image through comments on micro-blogging site Twitter and also TV channels.
In her tweets and during debates, Kishwar had alleged the senior bureaucrat was harassing the woman due to which her father asked for police protection. The suit filed in November last year has sought initiation of criminal proceedings against Kishwar.
Sharma has alleged that Kishwar had made derogatory comments against him on her Twitter account and during debates on news channels on the issue of alleged surveillance of a woman architect on the orders of then Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, a key aide of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Two investigative news portals, Cobrapost.com and Gulail.com have claimed, on the basis of taped conversation, that Shah had ordered the illegal surveillance at the behest of one "Saheb" in 2009.
Sharma is facing six criminal cases in Gujarat. The 1984-batch IAS officer has claimed he was being victimised by the BJP government in Gujarat for his knowledge of the "intimacy" shared by Modi with the architect.
Gujarat government appointed a two-member commission on November 26 to enquire into the snooping scandal.
The Centre on December 26 also constituted a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the snooping on a woman in Gujarat allegedly at the behest of Modi. The Union Cabinet had also decided to constitute the inquiry into the incidents of physical/electronic surveillance in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi allegedly without authorisation.