Tejashwi Prasad Yadav v. Hareshbhai Pranshankar Mehta

CITATION – 2024 INSC 108

TRANSFER PETITION (Crl) No. – 846 of 2023

DATE OF JUDGMENT – February 13, 2024 

COURT – Supreme Court of India

PETITIONER – Tejashwi Prasad Yadav

RESPONDENT – Hareshbhai Pranshankar Mehta 

BENCH – Hon’ble Justice Mr. Abhay S. Oka and Hon’ble Justice Mr. Ujjal Bhuyan

The case concerns a transfer petition (CRL.) No. 846 of 2023 that was filed with the Criminal original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India. The petitioner, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, requested that a defamation case brought by Hareshbhai Pranshankar Mehta against him be moved from the Ahmedabad Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to a Delhi Court. The bench for this case consisted of the hon’ble Justice Mr. Abhay S. Oka and Hon’ble Justice Mr. Ujjal Bhuyan. The judgement was given on February 13, 2024.

The following legal provisions are relevant in this case:

  1. Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Sections 499 and 500: Talk about defamation and how the Indian Penal Code punishes it.
  2. Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) – Section 406: In the interest of justice, cases may be transferred from one court to another under this section.
  3. Indian Constitution – Article 142: This article gives the Supreme Court of India the authority to issue any directive required to ensure that any case or subject that is before it receives complete justice.

The Supreme Court of India cited and used these legal provisions when making its ruling on Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s transfer petition and defamation case.


  1. That the respondent filed a private complaint against the petitioner in the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ahmedabad, claiming defamation in violation of section 499 and 500 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  2. That the petitioner’s public remarks on March 22, 2023, referencing financial scam and the Gujrati community.
  3. That this public remark by the petitioner was covered by a number of media sites, was the basis for the complaint. In those remarks, he was accused of calling Gujarati people as “thugs.”
  4. That the petitioner was the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar at the time the complaint was filed. 
  5. That the petitioner first defended his remarks, saying that they were made in response to a query about the CBI’s inability to successfully extradite Mehul Choksi to India. 
  6. People from other communities are viewing Gujaratis as dishonest and illegal as a result of those comments.
  7. That subsequently, on January 18 and January 31, 2024, the petitioner submitted affidavits in which they retracted and claimed defamatory remarks and expressed their respect for the Gujarati community.
  8. That the petitioner filed a plea under Section 406 of the Criminal Procedure Code asking for the case to be transferred to Delhi or any impartial location.


  1. Whether the petitioner’s remarks qualified as defamatory under section 499 of the IPC and whether Article 142 of the Indian Constitution may be used to deliver complete justice in the case were the principal questions that were discussed.
  2. Whether the petitioner’s alleged defamatory remarks justified keeping up the defamation prosecution.
  3. Whether the petitioner’s removal of the offensive remarks supported the complaint’s quashing. 


  1. The petitioner defended himself by asserting that his words were misinterpreted and that they were not meant to damage the Gujarati community’s reputation. He maintained that he should be released from any defamation lawsuit due to his later retractions and explanations.
  2. The petitioner claimed that his remarks were not meant to disparage the Gujarati community and were made in answer to certain questions.
  3. He clarified the context of his remarks and removed the alleged defamatory remarks through affidavits, showing respect for the Gujarati community.
  4. The petitioner also argued for the case’s transfer, pointing out that Ahmedabad might be biased and that a neutral location was necessary.


  1. Respondent, however, argues that the petitioner’s early statements were offensive to the Gujarati community in general and had a detrimental effect.
  2. The petitioner withdrew the full problematic statement, but the respondent objected, claiming that withdrawing just a portion of it was inadequate.
  3. The respondent’s attorney did, however, accept the petitioner’s affidavits and stated that they were prepared to comply with any necessary court orders.
  4. The respondent contended that the case should stay in Ahmedabad, where the complaint was filed, and opposed the case’s transfer. 


Petitioner’s plea for a transfer was noticed by the Supreme Court bench. The court also halted further action regarding the complaint. In reaching its ruling, the Court took into account the petitioner’s apologies and explanations as well as his genuine gratitude to the Gujarati community. The court noted that the petitioner had provided clarification regarding the context of the claimed defamatory remarks and had unconditionally withdrawn them. The court determined that it would be unfair to pursue the case in light of the petitioner’s reverence for the Gujarati community and the withdrawal of the remarks. In order to guarantee complete justice between the parties, the court used its extraordinary authority to invoke Article 142 of the Indian Constitution. The Court upheld the petitioner’s defamation claim by citing Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, which highlights the significance of motive and context in assessing defamation cases. It was decided that it was appropriate to quash the complaint because there would be no point in pursuing the prosecution after the statements were withdrawn. Thus, the court dismissed the defamation complaint against Tejashwi Prasad Yadav i.e. the petitioner and the prayer for transferring the complaint also became unnecessary.


The court pointed out that the removal of offensive remarks alone would not automatically result in the dismissal of all defamation cases. Whereas, in this instance, the petitioner’s justification and admiration for the Gujarati community, along with the withdrawal of the statements, made it appropriate to dismiss the complaint.

People may disagree with the choice since it might be difficult to determine someone’s true intentions when they speak in public. Though the court considered the petitioner’s arguments, interpreting someone’s words can be extremely difficult, and different judges may reach different conclusions in circumstances that are identical to one another. Furthermore, some would argue that the court has too much authority and that it is unclear what would happen in defamation cases when Article 142 is used to make the decision.


The criminal case of Tejashwi Prasad Yadav v. Hareshbhai Pranshankar Mehta, which was pending in the Ahmedabad Court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, was dismissed by the Supreme Court of India. This decision of the court emphasizes how carefully speech rights and defamation protection must coexist. The Court’s application of Article 142 indicates its determination to provide full justice by taking into account all relevant factors in relation to the petitioner’s remarks. Regarding the substance of the petitioner’s statement and whether or not to transfer the case, both parties made their case. Fairness and equity were promoted by the Court’s emphasis on context and motive, which established a precedent for the careful reading of public utterances in defamation cases. The court acknowledged that the question of possible prejudice and fairness in venue selection needed to be addressed. As a result, the petition was handled appropriately and the request for transfer was rendered moot.


The petitioner removed the alleged defamatory allegations via affidavits, expressing no ill will toward the Gujarati people and acknowledging their accomplishments, including Mahatma Gandhi. The court struck a balance between the interests of both parties, acknowledging the respondent’s harm but also taking into account the petitioner’s clarification and withdrawal of statements. It determined that continuing the prosecution would be unjust given the circumstances.

Overall, the court’s ruling displays a sophisticated understanding of the case, taking into account the petitioner’s clarification, the context of the comments, and the best interests of justice in resolving the case.

Ankita Maurya 

Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun