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Delhi High Court directs Congress leaders to remove all tweets, videos posted against Rajat Sharma

The court prima facie observed that no abusive language was used by Rajat Sharma for Ragini Nayak, but in subsequent videos, insertion was made saying "Rajat Sharma Ne Di Gaali", which prima facie was a "total misrepresentation of the true facts."

Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu New Delhi Updated on: June 15, 2024 23:35 IST
Delhi High Court directs Congress leaders Ragini Nayak Pawan Khera Jairam Ramesh to remove all tweet
Image Source : INDIA TV India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma.

In a major legal relief for India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma, the Delhi High Court today directed that all 'X' tweets and YouTube and Facebook videos posted against him by three Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Pawan Khera and Jairam Ramesh be removed from social media platforms within seven days. 

Ragini Nayak had alleged a few days ago that she was purportedly abused by Rajat Sharma during a live debate on India TV during the counting of Lok Sabha polls on June 4, but this was hotly denied by the India TV Chairman, who posted the entire video telecast on counting day by the channel and challenged her to prove that he had abused her.

After the Delhi High Court interim injunction order, Rajat Sharma tweeted on Saturday, "Satya Pareshaan Ho Sakta Hai, Parajit Nahin." (Truth can be harassed, not defeated).

While granting ex-parte ad interim injunction order in favour of India TV Chairman in his defamation suit, Delhi High Court judge Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said, "...it is directed that the X posts/Tweets which have not been removed, be removed within seven days by defendants in terms of the Intermediary Guidelines." 

The court ordered that the URLs of YouTube videos and Twitter posts made by the three Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Pawan Khera and Jairam Ramesh, and other users  be removed. The order said, videos which are in public domain be made private by Google India Pvt Ltd and shall not be put in the public domain, without judicial orders.

 
The court prima facie observed that there was no abusive language used by Rajat Sharma at Ragini Nayak, but in subsequent videos, insertion was made saying "Rajat Sharma Ne Di Gaali",  which prima facie was a "total misrepresentation of the true facts." 

The judge said, "The X posts berating the plaintiff (Rajat Sharma) are nothing but an over-sensationalisation and depiction of facts which are patently false. 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."
 
The court said, the three Congress leaders posted an edited video on X claiming it to be "Raw Footage" of the debate held on Counting Day on India TV news channel.  Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said, "The balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff for the simple reason that by making these videos private or injuncting them from being available on the public platforms, would not, in any way, infringe on the rights of the defendants of freedom of speech and expression which they can, in any case, exercise within the defined parameters. However, the inconvenience that would result from these videos and X posts/Tweets etc., continuing to remain in public domain, has the potential to cause an inconvenience which may not be possible to be reparated or compensated by damages or otherwise, in future."
 
Justice Krishna said, from the footage of the India TV debate which was played in the court, it was prima facie evident that Rajat Sharma had varely intervened for a few seconds and no abusive language was used against Ragini Nayak.  The judge said, "No harm would be caused to the defendants if the material is restrained from remaining in public domain till the suit is adjudicated on merits, while these tweets have a potential of bringing disrepute to the Plaintiff in future with practially no reparation to the damage to his reputation."
 
Justice Krishna said, "While the threshold of public criticism and alleged defamatory X posts/Tweets and YouTube videos on intermediary platforms is much higher, but the individual dignity and honour of a person cannot be allowed to be defamed or disrepute brought to him on the ground of Right of Free Speech and Expression." 

The judge said, "there is a thin line of distinction that exists between defamation and public criticism and an onerous task lies with the courts to maintain the delicate balance between the competing claims and rights."

India TV had posted a public response shared on X platform, tagging Ragini Nayak and Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Pawan Khera, saying that the allegations made by them are "absolutely false and lacked any basis and foundation whatsoever." 

India TV, in its post, had said that the allegations are malicious and defamatory and constitute fake news. India TV had said that Rajat Sharma, who has been in journalism profession for more than four decades, has a very high degree of credibility and reputation, and is known for his cultured and civilised behaviour, both on and off the air.
 
India TV post had told the Congress leaders, "You have blatantly violated all limits of public decency by falsely accusing a personality of high repute. We are taking legal advice on this to take further action."

India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma also posted a video on X stating that he never raised his voice at anyone and never caused disrespect to anyone during his long tenure on Indian television. Senior Advocate Maninder Singh appeared as counsel and argued the case for Rajat Sharma.

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

ALSO READ: India TV Chairman Rajat Sharma gives befitting reply to those conspiring against him

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