Restrain AAP from publishing ‘defamatory and malicious allegations’, L-G Saxena approaches Delhi HC

Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena approached the Delhi High Court Thursday seeking an interim injunction restraining the AAP and its members from publishing, commenting, or issuing any information through tweets, articles, and interviews or in any other manner to the public with respect to allegations of corruption and money laundering against him.

The application listed before Justice Amit Bansal wherein the counsel appearing for the L-G submitted that allegations are “defamatory and malicious”, and these comments and statements by defendants are vilification of a constitutional authority. The counsel submitted that the tweets and press conferences held by AAP members with references to the L-G have been widely reported.

The counsel appearing for one of the defendants submitted that the plaintiff is a public functionary and “must be open to criticism and be thick-skinned”. The counsel for one of the other defendants submitted that as a political party, it is their duty to bring these issues to public notice, and the L-G is not above the law, and his conduct is important. The counsel for the defendants stated that there are certain justifications regarding the statements made opposing the plea for the interim injunction, stating that whether there is any truth to them will be decided later in the trial.

The L-G filed a defamation suit against the AAP and its members — Atishi, Durgesh Pathak, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Jasmine Shah and Sanjay Singh, alleging that the defendants have “launched a series of scathing and belligerent personal attacks against him by employing certain epithets to refer to the plaintiff including expletives such as chor and dalal” while alleging that he has “indulged in corruption and money laundering to the tune of Rs 1,400 crore during demonetisation while holding the post of Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission”. The L-G claims that the defendants have “sensationalised the issue by circulating hashtags like ‘L-G Saxena ko giraftar karo’ and ‘L-G Saxena chor hai’ which indicates a pre-planned conspiracy, maligning the goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff”.

He also alleges that the party and its members have used mainstream news media to carry out vindictive attacks, and have shared tweets and videos in the form of interviews and press conferences on social media.

The application states that a legal notice, dated September 5, was sent to the defendants to “stop disseminating and spreading such false allegations” by the plaintiff, however, no response was received. The application seeks the court to direct the party to take down all “defamatory and unwarranted allegations” against him. The counsel for the plaintiff stated that he is a constitutional authority and cannot come out in public to defend himself.

After hearing both parties, the court reserved the orders in the application for the interim injunction.

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