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HomeBusinessAAP, its leaders ruthlessly made 'defamatory' statements against LG Vinai Kumar Saxena...

AAP, its leaders ruthlessly made ‘defamatory’ statements against LG Vinai Kumar Saxena of Delhi, HC directs dismissal from post: The Tribune IndiaNews WAALI

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PTI

New Delhi, September 27th

In an injunction Tuesday, the Delhi High Court barred the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and several of its leaders from making “defamatory” statements against Deputy Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and ordered them to remove the allegedly defamatory posts, videos and tweets against him on social media, saying they were done in a ruthless manner.

The Supreme Court said on the face of it that the various statements or interviews or press conferences or tweets or retweets or hashtags made by the AAP and its leaders are per se defamatory and made in a ruthless manner, without any fact verification, to tarnish Saxena’s reputation.

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The court’s injunction was based on a lawsuit brought by Saxena aimed at threatening AAP, its leaders Atishi Singh, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh and Jasmine Shah, who was appointed Deputy Chair of the Dialogue by the Delhi NCT government , restraining orders and Development Commission from making false allegations against him and ordering them to delete or remove the allegedly false and defamatory posts or tweets or videos that were circulated and published on social media against him and his family .

He has also demanded damages and compensation of Rs 2.5 crore along with interest from the political party and its five leaders.

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AAP leaders had alleged that Saxena received and channeled demonstrated currency in November 2016 while serving as Chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The party had claimed that Saxena was involved in a Rs 1,400 crore scam.

In its order, the Supreme Court said Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution grants all persons the right to freedom of expression and expression, but subject to the limitations of Article 19(2), which include defamation.

“Therefore, the right to freedom of expression is not an unrestricted right in the guise of which defamatory statements can be made in order to damage an individual’s reputation. The fundamental right to freedom of expression must be balanced with the right to a person’s reputation, which is seen as a fundamental element of the right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution,” said Judge Amit Bansal. The Supreme Court also notified AAP and its officials, Twitter and YouTube, of the lawsuit, urging them to respond and set the matter for February 6, 2023 for a hearing.

The Supreme Court said if AAP and its leaders fail to comply with orders to remove the offending material within 48 hours, Twitter and YouTube will be ordered to remove the relevant hashtags, as well as tweets, retweets and videos posted on their social media -Platforms.

The statements by AAP and its leaders that Saxena was allegedly involved in acts of corruption at the time of the demonstration were “completely unfounded”.

“In the present case, the plaintiff (Saxena), as constitutional authority, cannot counter the personal attacks against him by the defendants (AAP and their leaders) by resorting to social media platforms. Defendants did not even bother to respond to the September 5, 2022 legal notice sent on Plaintiff’s behalf. Therefore, the only remedy available to the plaintiff to protect his reputation and prevent its erosion is to go to the court and seek an injunction,” the Supreme Court said.

The damage done to a person’s online reputation is immediate and far-reaching, and as long as the offending content continues to circulate and is visible on social media, it is likely to cause lasting damage to the plaintiff’s reputation and image.

“Severe and irreparable harm and damage would be done to the plaintiff’s reputation if the aforementioned defamatory content persisted on the internet and on the social media platforms of defendants Nos. 7 and 8 (Twitter and YouTube) and the defendants did it are permitted to continue to make defamatory statements of this nature against the plaintiff,” the judge said.

The Supreme Court declined to agree with the defendants’ contention that in cases of defamation, the veracity of the allegations could only be verified in a court of law and that the appropriate remedy would be damages, not an injunction.

In cases where the court finds that statements were made recklessly and recklessly without regard to the truth and are damaging to the plaintiff’s reputation, the court is entitled to issue an injunction.

“If the defendant’s submission is accepted, it would give the defendant free rein to continue making defamatory statements against the plaintiff and further tarnish his reputation. Therefore, the court cannot be powerless in such a situation. After suffering the brunt of such defamatory content, it is difficult to consider full redress through damages. Such cases require immediate injunctive relief and the court cannot wait for the defendants to record their responses,” it said.

Regarding the allegations of exchanging the canceled notes, the court found that the amount, as mentioned in the CBI FIR, was Rs 17 lakh, which was vastly exaggerated by the defendants, to a fanciful sum of Rs 1400 crore.

Regarding the allegation by AAP and its leaders that Saxena’s daughter was assigned a Rs 80 crore Khadi contract while he was chairman of KVIC, the Supreme Court again said the defendants had made unsubstantiated allegations that an imaginary A sum of Rs 80 crore has been paid to the plaintiff’s daughter.

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