Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

Smriti Irani defamation suit: Amid bar row, Delhi HC asks Congress leaders to remove social media posts

Accusing her daughter of running a restaurant bar in Goa “illegally”, with the licence procured “fraudulently” in the name of a deceased person, the Congress had demanded the resignation of Smriti Irani.

Union Minister Smriti Irani said that the Congress leaders have conspired to defame her and her daughter. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Delhi High Court on Friday issued summons over a defamation suit filed by Union Minister Smriti Irani against Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza, and asked them to take down tweets and other social media posts regarding allegations brought in against Irani’s daughter.

Irani in the suit stated that the Congress leaders have conspired with each other to launch a tirade of false, scathing and belligerent personal attacks against her and her daughter with the common motive to malign, defame and injure her and her daughter’s reputation, moral character and public image.

“Despite being fully aware of the fact that the applicant and her daughter are neither owner(s) of the premises or said restaurant, nor have they applied for any license in relation to the said restaurant, defendants [Congress leaders] deliberately made various defamatory statements imputing the character of the applicant and her daughter going to the extent of maliciously peddling lies by stating that the applicants’s daughter is purportedly indulging in corrupt practices and illegal activities under the patronage and knowledge of the applicant,” the suit read.

Passing the judgment, Justice Mini Pushkarna said: “The applicant has made out prima facie case and balance of convenience lies in favour of plaintiff [Irani] and against the defendants [Congress leaders]. I deem it proper to pass ad interim injunction directing defendants 1 to 3 to delete and remove the allegations made during the press conference from all social media platforms – Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They are also directed to remove the post, videos, tweets, retweets, morphed pictures of plantiff and her daughter along with the allegations and stop their recirculation. If defendants 1 to 3 fail to comply with the directions within 24 hours of this order, defendants 4 to 6 [social media platforms] are directed to take down [the material].”

The order added, “I am of the prima facie view that slanderous allegations were made against the plaintiff without verifying actual facts. Grave injury has been caused to the reputation of the plaintiff in view of the tweets and retweets carried due to the press conference of the defendants.”

Reacting to the judgment, Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “The Delhi High Court has issued notice asking us to formally reply to the case filed by Smriti Irani. We look forward to presenting the facts before the court. We will challenge and disprove the spin being put out by Ms. Irani.”

Accusing her daughter of running a restaurant bar in Goa “illegally”, with the licence procured “fraudulently” in the name of a deceased person, the Congress had demanded the resignation of Smriti Irani. Addressing the media in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera had said: “In Goa, a restaurant run by her daughter, it has a bar…it is accused of procuring a licence fraudulently. The licence is in the name of a person who died in May 2021 and…was procured in June (2022). In the name of that person, Smriti Irani’s daughter took the licence.”

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Calling it a “malicious” accusation, Irani hit back, saying that her daughter, Zoish, was the target only because “her mother does press conferences against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi”.

First published on: 29-07-2022 at 12:36:34 pm
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