A district court of Ahmedabad on Saturday partly allowed an application moved by Delhi-based news portal The Wire against the ex parte injunction, which barred it from reporting further on the “exponential rise” in the turnover of the firm owned by Jay Shah, son of BJP president Amit Shah. The court, however, directed the portal to refrain from connecting reports on Jay Shah’s firm with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The court later stayed the order for 14 days after Jay Shah’s lawyer requested for a 30-day stay, saying that he would be challenging the order in the High Court.
While reading out the operative part of the order, Additional Senior Civil Judge (Mirzapur) B K Dasondi said, “The present application is partly allowed. The defendants (The Wire) hereby are restrained from using and/or publishing and /or printing in any electronic, print, digital or any other media, or broadcast or telecast, print and publish in any manner including, by way of any interview, holding TV talk, debate and public or debates, news items/programme in any language on the basis of article published in The Wire or in furtherance of the said article, either, directly or indirectly, narrating the lines or words, in the manner of ‘since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister/following the election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister’ till the final disposal of the present suit.”
Stating that the records on profits and losses of Jay Shah’s firm can’t be questioned at this juncture, the order said: “The defendants (The Wire) have failed to show about direct or indirect nexus of association with the Prime Minister as regard to the increase in the business of the plaintiff (Jay Shah)… no justification has been placed for relating it to the election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Hence the same needs to be restrained qua that portion.”
The article published on October 8 had referred to the rise of Jay’s businesses along with the BJP coming to power and Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister in 2014. Days after the article was published, Jay Shah got an ex parte injunction against the website which barred it from publishing follow-up stories on the same subject. The portal had moved the Gujarat High Court, which refused to entertain the petition and referred it back to the trial court, asking it to decide in 30 days.
At the last hearing, senior lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan had argued that the website stands by the article, which is based on public documents. The article claimed that documents showed that turnover of Jay Shah’s firm, Temple Enterprise, increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore.