Shimla, March 21 :
The Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday ordered the retrial in the criminal defamation case against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Hearing petitions of state Subordinate Services Selection Board former chairman S.M. Katwal, Justice D.C. Chaudhary directed the judicial magistrate in Una town for retrial.
He challenged the judgment of sessions court which quashed the judicial magistrate’s order to issue summons to Virbhadra Singh in two defamation cases.
Katwal, who remained chairman of the board from 2000 to 2003, had filed criminal defamation cases alleging he was defamed by the speeches made by Virbhadra Singh at public meetings.
The judicial magistrate issued summons to Virbhadra Singh Aug 16, 2005, who filed revision petition in the sessions court which quashed the orders on the ground that the complainant could not be called the person aggrieved as the imputation at the most can be said to be against the board and that too when the complainant was not its chairman.
The high court observed that the revisional court has a limited jurisdiction to see if there is a legal bar against continuance of criminal proceedings or framing of charges.
In another case, Katwal this month challenged the trial court orders dated Dec 24, 2012, in the high court against the acquittal of Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in a 2012 corruption case.
The state police booked Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh, a sitting MP from Mandi, Aug 3, 2009, under the Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged misuse of official position and criminal misconduct when he was the chief minister in 1989.
In 2009, the Bharatiya Janata Party government was in power in the state.