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Defamation case: Nawab Malik wilfully breached undertaking to court, says HC

Bombay High Court asks Nawab Malik to submit an affidavit on why action should not be taken against him

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: December 8, 2021 6:55:47 am
Nawab Malik, Sameer Wankhede, Bombay HC, Nawab Malik defamation case, Defamation, Mumbai, Mumbai news, Indian express, Indian express news, Mumbai latest newsA division bench of Justice A A Sayed and Justice Abhay Ahuja directed the Maharashtra government, Election Commission and the BMC to file affidavits in reply by December 21 to a plea by two BJP councillors challenging the November 30 decision. (File)

The Bombay High Court Tuesday “prima facie” observed that state minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik has “wilfully breached” his undertaking given to the court that he won’t be making statements against Dhyandev Wankhede, father of NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede and his family.

The bench in its order noted, “We are prima facie satisfied that the statement/undertaking (before HC) made by respondent (Malik) has been wilfully breached.”

Wankhede had told the court that despite assurance, Malik continued to make defamatory statements against his family. To this, Malik said he had made the statements as the spokesperson of NCP and not in individual capacity. The court asked Malik to file an affidavit setting out as to why action should not be taken against him for wilful breach of undertaking and posted the matter to December 10 for further hearing.

“Before we take any action against respondent, we direct him to file his affidavit setting out as to why action should not be taken against him for wilful breach of statements/undertaking,” the court noted.

On November 22, a single-judge bench of Justice Madhav J Jamdar while passing an order on the interim plea by Wankhede against Malik in a defamation suit seeking Rs 1.25 crore in damages, had refused to grant a blanket injunction restraining Malik but directed him to conduct “reasonable verification” of facts before posting any material on social media or speaking with the media against the Wankhede family.

Dhyandev, on November 29, gave his consent to the proposed draft terms given by Malik to quash a single-judge order which had refused to grant an interim relief to Wankhede in a defamation suit.

Malik had then reiterated his earlier statement and had given an undertaking that since the rehearing of Wankhede’s plea by the single-judge bench and its final orders are pending, he would not make public comments on any medium against the latter or his family.

On Tuesday, senior counsel Birendra Saraf appearing for Wankhede told a division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice Milind N Jadhav that Malik had continued making defamatory statements against his family through media interviews and posts on social media and other platforms.

Saraf said assuming that the name of the family member was not taken by Malik in one of the media statements, he could do the same after having given a solemn affidavit with an undertaking in the High Court. The judges noted that some of the statements were very “serious” and infringed the court’s order.

After the bench questioned Malik’s counsel as to whether statements made by his client are made in personal/individual capacity or as minister of state, advocate Karl Tamboly, after taking instructions, informed Malik had made statements as the spokesperson of NCP.

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