Smriti Irani, Daughter Not Owners Of Goa Restaurant: Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court directed all the social media platforms, namely, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to remove the allegations, videos, posts, tweets, re-tweets, captions, and taglines with the morphed pictures of the plaintiff and her daughter.

By Ashita Singh
Mon, 01 Aug 2022 09:49 PM IST | Source: ANI
Minute Read
Smriti Irani, Daughter Not Owners Of Goa Restaurant: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that considering the documents on record it is clearly seen that there was no license which was ever issued in favour of the plaintiff Smriti Irani or her daughter while directing Congress leaders to take down their contents from social media related to Goa bar issue.

The plaintiff or her daughter are not the owners of the restaurant. It has also been established by the plaintiff prima facie that the plaintiff or her daughter never applied for the license.

Delhi High Court said that it perused the various documents on record, particularly, the Show Cause Notice dated June 21, 2022 issued by the Government of Goa, office of Commissioner of Excise, which has been addressed to one Anthony Dgama, and not to the plaintiff or her family members.

Court further noted that perusal of the aforesaid categorically shows that the reputation of an individual has been placed at the highest altar and has been considered akin to the Right to Life of a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Thus, there is an imperative need to protect the reputation of an individual, least to say, that of the plaintiff who is a respected member of the society and an esteemed member of the Union Ministry.

Since the plaintiff commands an esteemed position as a Minister in the Government of India and considering the nature of her public office, there is immense public glare and scrutiny of any information about the plaintiff in the public domain. Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D'souza have conspired with each other and other individuals and organisations to launch a tirade of false, scathing and belligerent personal attacks on the plaintiff and her daughter with a common motive to malign, defame and injure the reputation, moral character and public image of the plaintiff and her daughter.

Further, Delhi High Court directed all the social media platforms, namely, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to remove the allegations, videos, posts, tweets, re-tweets, captions, and taglines with the morphed pictures of the plaintiff and her daughter along with the underlined material with such defamatory content or anything similar thereto including recirculation on their respective platforms.

The plaintiff has been able to make out a prima facie case. Balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants (Congress leaders) I am satisfied that if the defamatory allegations and contents linked to it, are allowed to remain on the internet and social media platforms, then the extent of damage to the plaintiff could be of the immense magnitude and injurious to the reputation of the plaintiff and her family said the court.

"I deem it expedient to pass an interim injunction directing defendant Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D'souza to delete and remove the allegations, video of the impugned Press Conference dated July 23, 2022, and the contents linked to the same as set out in document 2 and 3 of the plaint, published against the plaintiff from all the social media platforms, namely, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media platforms are also directed to remove the allegations, videos, posts, tweets, re-tweets, captions, and taglines along with the morphed pictures of the plaintiff and her daughter with the underlined material with such defamatory content or anything similar thereto including recirculation on their respective platform" said the court.

Court also said the defendant fail to comply with the directions as hereinabove within 24 hours of pronouncement of this order, Social media platforms are directed to take down the tweets and other materials on the URLs as well as other tweets which may appear in the plaint thereof. Next date of hearing before the court is November 15, 2022.

Defamation Suit files by Union Minister Smriti Irani clearly state that the plaintiff also served a legal notice dated July 24.

However, no reply was given by the Congress leaders nor any documents with respect to various allegations made by these leaders during the Press Conference were ever produced in order to substantiate their allegations against the plaintiff and her family members.

The suit submitted that the defendant Jairam Ramesh and Netta D'souza have indulged in character assassination of the plaintiff and her family at the highest level.

It has been averred that all documents and information pertaining to the ownership of the restaurant and the property upon which it is situated; the licenses applied and granted for the restaurant are in the public domain.

Congress leaders have purposefully not verified the purported information available to them before making the defamatory allegations against the plaintiff and her family members. Defendant never sought any clarification from the plaintiff, regarding the true owner of the said property on which the said restaurant is located and whether the plaintiff's daughter has applied for a liquor license for the said restaurant.

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