New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday issued notices to British daily and two Indian newspapers on a defamation suit filed against them by Raihan, son of Robert and Priyanaka Vadra, for carrying a news article speculating that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi may adopt him to finalize a succession plan in the Gandhi family.
Apart from the British newspaper, Justice Manmohan also sought responses from a Rajasthan-based and a New Delhi-based dailies on the defamation suit which contended the news article was written with "malicious intent" to defame Raihan Vadra.
The suit filed through his mother Priyanka Gandhi also refuted the allegations made in the articles that Rahul Gandhi has been named as Raihan's guardian in his school admission as "false, incorrect and defamatory".
It said the articles were written with the sole intent of causing embarrassment and harm to the family. The suit further contended that none of the newspapers had attempted to verify any of the facts before publishing the "offending articles".
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Raihan Vadra, argued that "the defendants (newspapers) have published the impugned article with reckless disregard for truth and with full knowledge that their contents were false".
He also argued that the right to privacy and dignity of his client, who is a minor, has been violated by the articles. "The defendants have deliberately and intentionally put the minor child in a position of emotional, psychological and physical vulnerability," he added.
He further stated that the matter raises an important constitutional issue of protection of the rights of the minors.
The British paper had carried the story in July last year, which was later reproduced by the other two newspapers. Later the articles were removed from the websites of the newspapers.
The court now listed the matter for further hearing May 11.