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Big relief for Rajat Sharma, Delhi HC orders removal of tweets by Congress leaders

Delhi High Court ordered the removal of tweets by Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh, and Pawan Khera alleging that journalist Rajat Sharma abused Nayak on live-television.

Edited By: Nivedita Dash @Nivedita0503 New Delhi Updated on: June 15, 2024 17:52 IST
India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma
Image Source : INDIA TV India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma

In a big relief for India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma, the Delhi High Court has instructed Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh, and Pawan Khera to remove tweets alleging that the veteran journalist abused Nayak on live television during the Lok Sabha elections result day — June 4. Rajat Sharma has told the Delhi High Court that  he was defamed by Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh and Pawan Khera having falsely alleged that abusive language was used during his show. Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said it is prima facie evident from the footage of the TV debate played in the court that plaintiff Sharma had "barely intervened for a few seconds and no abusive language was used" against Nayak.

Soon after the ruling, Rajat Sharma also took to X to announce the verdict. 

 

What the court said

High Court observed that Congress leaders over-sensationalised the incident and did not remain truthful. "It cannot be denied that the citizens have a right to freedom of Speech and expression but there was also a corresponding duty to remain truthful to the incident. The X posts berating the plaintiff are nothing but an oversensationalization and depiction of facts which are patently false," the court said.

It added, "Prima facie dissemination of such X Posts has not only caused harm to the reputation of the plaintiff as has been asserted by him, but also has the potential of persistent threat of being used against the plaintiff at any time in future. Such being the imminent threat of misuse of the videos in future, which are prima facie depicting plaintiff in a light which may not be based on true facts, is liable to be restrained from being kept in the public domain till the Suit is finally decided."

Prima facie, the court has found that the reputation of Rajat Sharma is in danger due to the tweets made by Congress leaders. Summons have been issued to Congress leaders in this case and now the next hearing will be on July 11.

What was the issue?

The controversy arose after Nayak accused Sharma of abusing her on national television during a debate on the show on the counting day of 2024 Lok Sabha polls.  Sharma's counsel said while the debate was happening on the channel on the evening of June 4, the day when election results came, the Congress leaders started tweeting only on June 10 and 11. Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing Sharma, contended that a clip of the show was being circulated in which an abuse had been inserted whereas the original footage does not contain any such content.

The court has also ordered the takedown of the YouTube video on Congress' YouTube channel in which Ragini Nayak held a press-conference and levelled the same allegations. Several other URLs related to the incident have also been ordered to be taken down in seven days.

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