Statements by AAP against LG ‘reckless, defamatory’, says HC | India News

NEW DELHI: Observing that statements and tweets were made in a “reckless manner” without verification, the Delhi high court on Tuesday restrained Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and several of its leaders from making “defamatory” statements against lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena.
In an interim order, the HC also directed them to take down the “per se defamatory” content against the LG in 48 hours, failing which Twitter and YouTube will comply with the court order.
“On a prima facie view, the various statements/interviews/press conferences/tweets/re-tweets/hashtags made by the defendants are per se defamatory. The same have been made in a reckless manner, without any factual verification, in order to tarnish the reputation of the plaintiff,” justice Amit Bansal noted, granting relief to the LG.
The high court underlined that “reputation of a person is earned after years and the same cannot be tarnished by any other individual in a casual manner”.
Graft charges against LG unsubstantiated, says HC
In its interim order on LG Vinai Kumar Saxena’s defamation plea, the Delhi high court dealt briefly with all the allegations made by AAP and its leaders. It noted that the allegations that Saxena was involved in any acts of corruption at the time of demonetisation “are completely unsubstantiated” and added that even the amount, as mentioned in the CBI FIR, was Rs 17 lakh which has been exaggerated by the defendants many times over to a fanciful sum of Rs 1,400 crore.
The AAP leaders had alleged that Saxena had received and channelised demonetised currency in November 2016 in his roleas chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The party had alleged that Saxena was involved in a Rs 1,400 crore scam.
Regarding the allegation of AAP and its leaders that a contract of Rs 80 crore was given to Saxena’s daughter while he was the chairman of KVIC, the high court said once again the allegations are “unfounded” and there is no material to show that an imaginary sum of Rs 80 crore has been paid to her for her professional services.
The high court said, ” The damage caused to the reputation of an individual is immediate and far-reaching on the internet. So long as the impugned content continues to be in circulation and visible on social media, it is likely to cause continuing damage to the reputation and image of the plaintiff.”
The court’s interim order came on a suit filed by Saxena seeking to stop AAP and its leaders Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh and Jasmine Shah from levelling false allegations against him and to direct them to delete or take down the content circulated and issued on social media against him and his family.
Justice Amit Bansal noted that the “right to freedom of speech and expression is not an unfettered right in the garb of which defamatory statements can be made to tarnish the reputation of a person. The fundamental right to freedom of speech has to be counterbalanced with the right of the reputation of an individual, which has been held to be a basic element of the right to a life consecrated in Article 21 of the Constitution.”
It also issued notice to AAP and its leaders, Twitter and YouTube on the suit and asked them to respond to it while fixing the matter for hearing on February 6, 2023.
The high court rejected the stand of the AAP leaders that in case of defamation, the veracity of allegations can only be tested in trial and an adequate remedy would be damages and not an interim injunction.

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