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Monday, December 06, 2021

Defamation plea: Sameer Wankhede’s father moves HC challenging single-judge order refusing to restrain Nawab Malik

A single-judge bench 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 Sameer Wankhede and his family.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
November 24, 2021 12:31:16 pm
Sameer Wankhede in New Delhi (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Dhyandev Wankhede, father of NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, Wednesday approached the Bombay High Court with an appeal challenging the single-judge bench order, which refused to grant an interim injunction against Maharashtra cabinet minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik in his defamation suit.

A single-judge bench of Justice Madhav J Jamdar had on Monday 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 Sameer Wankhede and his family.

The appeal filed through advocate Diwakar Rai has sought that while the court in its order observed Malik’s posts on his social media handles “are actuated by malice or personal animosity” since the minister’s son-in-law was arrested by the NCB, then Malik ought to have been restrained from making further comments.

The appeal was mentioned before a division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and M N Jadhav on Wednesday, which is likely to hear the same on Thursday.

In its order on Monday, the court said that Malik had raised “very important issues” concerning the acts and conduct of Wankhede. It also said that at this stage the allegations made against Wankhede that he is Muslim by birth but had secured a government job by falsely claiming to be from a Scheduled Caste and that he had sought illegal gratification in cases filed by the NCB cannot be said to be “totally false”. It referred to documents submitted by both parties on Wankhede’s identity and an affidavit filed by a panch witness in the Cordelia cruise case who made allegations against him.

Malik has taken to Twitter from October 14 to make allegations against Wankhede. Dhyandev claimed that this was the minister ‘hounding’ Wankhede for personal vendetta for probing Sameer Khan, Malik’s son-in-law. Khan was arrested by the NCB in January and released on bail nine months later in September. Dhyandev also claimed that Malik began tweeting against Wankhede after he came to know that the NCB was planning to appeal against Khan’s bail order. Malik claimed that he had documentary evidence to support the claims made by him and its admissibility and authenticity can be decided only at the stage of the trial.

Dhyandev had contended that his family had a right to privacy and the tweets were causing a loss of reputation for them. The court said that “reputation of one cannot be allowed to be crucified at the altar of the other’s right of free speech”. But, it held that in case of public officials right to privacy is not available with respect to acts and conduct relevant to discharge of official duties and the public has the right to examine and comment on actions of public officials.

Dhyandev has sought a permanent injunction against Malik and deletion of all posts made by him so far. He has also sought Rs 1.25 crore in damages for alleged loss of reputation.

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