Bamnoli land acquisition: HC directs The Wire to take down article on Delhi chief secretary

Bamnoli land acquisition: HC directs The Wire to take down article on Delhi chief secretary

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed news portal The Wire to take down an alleged defamatory article and the offending tweets casting aspersions on Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar in relation to the Bamnoli land acquisition matter.

In an interim order, the high court granted ad-interim injunction in favour of the chief secretary and also directed the news portal and its reporter to not post, circulate or publish any similar defamatory content against the plaintiff as set out in the article.

The court said in case the portal and its reporter fail to comply with the directions within 48 hours of the pronouncement of this order, micro-blogging platform X shall take down the tweets/posts and Google shall remove and de-index the web link of the article.

'Undoubtedly, while freedom of speech and expression is sacrosanct, the reputation of a person earned over several decades, cannot be sacrificed at the altar of such freedom, when the impugned publication, ex-facie, contains unsubstantiated allegations and defamatory imputations, regardless of the truth.

'In the present case, the court has also taken note of the crescendo of politically motivated tweets/ posts/ comments, virtually in sync with the publication of the aforesaid article/ publication dated November 9, which further validate the necessity of urgent injunctive order,' Justice Sachin Datta said.

The court said there is merit in the contentions of the chief secretary's counsel that a grave and irreparable damage will be caused to the plaintiff if ad-interim injunctive orders are not passed.

It also said that there was merit in the contention of the officer's counsel that the article contained defamatory and libellous allegations and insinuations, made in a reckless manner without regard to the truth, in order to cause injury to the reputation of the plaintiff.

The defamation suit was filed in relation to a news article on November 9 which alleged links of the chief secretary's son to the beneficiary's family.

The 19-acre land in question was acquired by the National Highways Authority of India in 2018 for the construction of the Dwarka Expressway.

Kumar, in his plea, sought to take down the article as well as a direction to restrain the news portal and the reporter from publishing any further defamatory articles against him.

His counsel had said the article was 'pre-planned' in order to 'activate' people against him and to 'please some people'.

The counsel for the news portal had refuted that the article contained any defamatory imputation as alleged and sought to rely upon a “Preliminary Report submitted to the Chief Minister of Delhi on November 14 by Atishi, Minister of Vigilance and Revenue, Government of NCT of Delhi” as a justification for the contents of the article.

The suit said that a legal notice was also sent by the chief secretary to the portal and the reporter on November 13, claiming that the contents of the article are ex-facie misleading and per se defamatory.

According to reports, the price of the land was increased from Rs 41.52 crore to Rs 353.79 crore in May and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs initiated action against South West Delhi District Magistrate Hemant Kumar for approving the enhanced compensation. PTI SKV ZMN

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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