The BJP’s candidate from South Bangalore, 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya, has got a temporary injunction from a Bengaluru court against reporting “defamatory” news about him. The court order bars 49 media outlets including English and Kannada newspapers and TV stations as well as social media giants like Facebook and Google from publishing “false, malicious and derogatory” news about Surya.
Ordering the temporary injunction on March 29, the court observed that “It appears that some of the prima facie defamatory messages pertaining to him is in transit in the media’’ and that “the plaintiff has produced a copy of a Twitter publication that is called ‘Me too case against Tejaswi Surya’”.
Surya named 49 media houses as defendants in his suit filed before the civil judge. The publications named include The Times of India, The Hindu and Deccan Herald, among English publications, and Kannada newspapers like Prajavani, Kannada Prabha, Vijaya Karnataka and Udayavani. Click here for more election news
The suit also names TV9, Suvarna News and Public TV among Kannada channels; WhatsApp, YouTube, Yahoo India, Facebook India and Google India among online media and CNN News 18, Times Now, India Today, News X and Republic TV among English television channels.
Based on the order of the city civil judge Surya’s advocates issued notices to the media on Friday stating “you are not at liberty to publish any scandalous and defamatory statements or any fake news as against our Client’’.
Incidentally, the city civil and sessions court in Bengaluru frequently issues temporary injunctions against publication and broadcast of material in cases involving MPs and other politicians, senior police officials, lawyers and businessmen.
Surya had approached the city civil and sessions court after “me too” tweets and messages emerged on social media, which were also picked up by the Congress and mainstream media. The Karnataka Mahila Congress also wrote to the state women’s commission seeking an inquiry into social media messages from a young woman who hinted that Surya has a dark side to him.
“The defendants are hereby restrained from making defamatory statements against the plaintiff in any manner in electronic or printing media as prayed in IA (interim application) No 1 till defendants appear and file their objections,’’ the 29th additional city civil judge Dinesh Hegde stated in his ex parte order dated March 29.
Based on documents placed in court and arguments presented for Surya, the court stated that a prima facie case exists to order a temporary injunction. The court issued the temporary injunction against publication of defamatory articles against Surya under Order 39 of the Civil Procedure Code.
In March 2017, a city civil judge ordered an ex parte temporary injunction against The Wire based on two original suits filed by BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar for the publication of two articles about the conflict of interest between the BJP leader’s credentials as an MP and businessman in defence and media businesses.
In February this year, a city civil judge, however, dismissed the temporary injunction against articles on Rajeev Chandrashekhar after The Wire contested the ex parte March 2017 order.
On February 28, 2019, city civil judge Ravindra Joshi ruled that “If the press is restrained from publishing any information about the public or public servants it amounts to curtailing the right of a media person from discharging his duties”.