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Smriti Irani, daughter do not own Goa bar not owned; (Congress) comments slander: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court in its order said neither Smriti Irani nor her daughter are owners of Goa restaurant Silly Souls or its land.

smriti iraniIn their press conference last month, the Congress accused Smriti Irani’s daughter of running the restaurant in Goa “illegally”, with the bar license procured “fraudulently” in the name of a deceased person.

In the order directing the Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza to delete and remove their posts on social media against Union Minister Smriti Irani and her daughter in connection with Silly Souls Café and Bar in Goa’s Assagao, the Delhi High Court has said that neither the restaurant nor the land on which it exists is owned by Irani and her daughter.

The order dated passed on Friday was released on Monday afternoon. Justice Mini Pushkarna said that the court has perused the various documents filed on record by Irani, particularly the Show Cause Notice issued by the Commissioner of Excise in Goa to Anthony D’gama.

“Considering the documents on record it is clearly seen that there was no licence which was ever issued in favour of the plaintiff or her daughter. The plaintiff or her daughter are not the owners of the restaurant. It has also been established by the plaintiff prima facie that the plaintiff or her daughter never applied for licence,” said the court in the order dated July 29.

It further said, “Neither the restaurant nor the land on which the restaurant exists is owned by the plaintiff or her daughter even the show cause notice issued by the Government of Goa is not in the name of the plaintiff or her daughter. All these facts have also been affirmed in the affidavit by the plaintiff.”

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The court in the order last week directed the Congress leaders to remove the allegations, video of the press conference held on July 23 and the contents linked to the same from social media platforms. The order was passed on a suit filed by Irani. Besides seeking damages of over Rs 2 crore for the alleged defamation and posting of false allegations, Irani in the suit filed through DSK Legal has sought a mandatory and permanent injunction against the Congress leaders and a direction for taking down the posts already made.

Issuing summons to the Congress leaders, the court has directed them to file a written statement to the plaint within 30 days from the date of receipt of summons. “Along with the written statement, the defendant shall also file an affidavit of admission/denial of the documents of the plaintiff, without which the written statement shall not be taken on record,” it said.

After hearing Irani’s application for ad interim injunction, Justice Pushkarna Friday said she is of the prima facie view that “slanderous and libellous allegations” were made against the Union Minister without verifying the facts and that “great injury” has been caused to her and her family’s reputation in view of tweets and retweets that followed the press conference given by the three Congress leaders on July 23.

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“I am of the considerate view that statements made by the defendant Nos. 1, 2, & 3 are in the nature of slander and seem to be bogus with malicious intent, only to garner highest amount of viewership thereby intentionally subjecting the plaintiff to a great public ridicule,” Justice Pushkarna said in the interim order.

In their press conference last month, the Congress accused Irani’s daughter of running the restaurant in Goa “illegally”, with the bar license procured “fraudulently” in the name of a deceased person. The Congress also had demanded the resignation of Irani from the Union Cabinet.

Irani’s suit alleges that the Congress leaders “conspired with each other and with unknown individuals/ organisations 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” their reputation, moral character and public image.

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Stating that Irani and her daughter have never been “running” a bar in Goa, the suit said they have never applied for any license for “running” or operating “any bar” till date. Both have not been served with any show cause notice from Goa’s Excise Department till date, it said.

“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 licence 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 applicant’s daughter is purportedly indulging in corrupt practices and illegal activities under the patronage and knowledge of the applicant,” reads the suit.

Reacting to the court order, Jairam Ramesh on Friday had 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.”

First published on: 01-08-2022 at 06:40:13 pm
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