The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Gujarat trial court not to proceed with criminal defamation proceedings against news portal The Wire in a case filed by Jay Shah till it hears the matter related to the quashing of the case next on April 12. The top court also asked Jay Shah, who is the son of BJP president Amit Shah, and others involved, to file responses within two weeks to the plea filed by the scribe.
The apex court also criticised the media in general over irresponsible reporting.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said he was against gagging media but also said, “we expect the media should be responsible, electronic media should be more responsible.”
Senior Advocate N K Kaul, appearing for Jay Shah, contended that The Wire story was a “manufactured story, scurrilous reporting” and was meant to damage Shah’s reputation. “The reporting was part of a design”, he said
Kapil Sibal who appeared for the news portal said it was only asking questions to Shah. “If journalism is going to be throttled like this, no journalist can ask questions,” he said.
In a setback to The Wire, the Gujarat High Court had in February ordered to restore the ex parte injunction, barring the website from publishing any further report on Jay and his firm’s turnover.
According to The Wire report, Jay Shah’s firm had increased 16,000 times in the year after Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister. The website is facing Rs100-crore damage suit, filed by Jay Shah, in a trial court in October 2017.