HC: Is there any Tom, Dick, or Harry could write anything against anyone on the Internet to harm someone’s reputation

Delhi HC
Delhi HC

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court reserved its decision on former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri’s petition against activist Saket Gokhale over his tweets casting doubt on the ex-sources envoy’s of income.

In its hearing, the High Court inquired whether any Tom, Dick, or Harry could write anything vile against anyone on the Internet in order to harm someone’s reputation.
During the course of hearing both sides’ submissions, a bench led by Justice C. Harishankar reserved the order.

During the hearing, the Court inquired of advocate Sarim Naved whether his client Gokhale was willing to remove tweets, to which the advocate responded negatively.

During the hearing, the Court referred to Gokhale’s tweets as “nonsense” and advised him to delete them, but Gokhale’s counsel stated that his client has refused.

The court inquired as to how you could vilify people in this manner. Following that, the court inquired of Gokhale’s counsel whether his client had contacted any official authority or sought clarification from the plaintiff prior to tweeting anything negative about Puri. Gokhale’s response was negative.

Additionally, the court inquired as to whether the law permits a voter with a grievance against a retired public servant to make any accusation on social media platforms without seeking clarification.

The Court noted that while Gokhale’s lawyer was unable to cite any judgement in support of its claim, he did refer to the Lok Prahari decision.

Advocate Naved informed the Court that pursuant to the Supreme Court’s Lok Prahari decision, the candidate’s and spouse’s assets should be made public. As a voter, Naved stated that he must be satisfied that income is properly accounted for. Unsatisfied with his response, the High Court directed Gokhale to seek satisfaction from the Election Commission.

Before hurling mud at someone, the Court observed, one must exercise due diligence. Maninder Singh, a senior advocate representing Lakshmi Puri, told the High Court that Gokhale “lacks decency.” “After more than 30 years of service to the government, this is what we get,” said Maninder Singh for Puri.

Lakshmi Puri has filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court against activist Saket Gokhale for his tweets casting doubt on her financial security.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, representing Lakshmi Puri, told the Delhi High Court that Gokhale made blatantly false statements, akin to “Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daante.” He testified before the High Court that these individuals rely on crowdfunding and that these types of acts are committed in order to increase their crowdfunding. Singh also stated that she holds no public office, which means Gokhale cannot infiltrate her life.

He urged the Delhi High Court to order Gokhale to remove the defamatory tweets, and if he did not, Twitter was required to do so under Rule 3 of the new Information Technology Rules, 2021. He asserted that he has established a prima facie case of defamation and harassment and that there is conclusive evidence of defamation and harassment.

Singh stated that asset declarations should not infringe on family members’ privacy. Karanjawala & Co. has filed a suit on behalf of Lakshmi Murdeshwar Puri seeking a mandatory injunction, damages, and costs, as well as interim relief.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh presented arguments on behalf of Lakshmi M. Puri. He was briefed by a team from Karanjawala & Company, which included Meghna Mishra, Partner, and advocates Dheeraj P Deo and Tarun Sharma.

Lakshmi Puri stated that she was compelled to file the suit for Mandatory Injunction, Damages, and Costs after Defendant made false and factually incorrect, per se defamatory, slanderous, and libellous statements about the Plaintiff in a series of tweets on June 13, 2021 and June 23, 2021.

The defendant’s series of tweets is maliciously motivated and purposeful, laced with canards, and involves deliberate twisting of facts – thereby constituting fabricated falsehood – with the intent of causing irreversible damage to the defendant’s reputation and irreparable harm to the Plaintiff, according to Puri’s petition.

According to the petition, Defendant Gokhale made a false and scurrilous allegation against Plaintiff Puri and her husband in a series of tweets dated 13.06.2021 and 23.06.2021, that they purchased a “house” in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006 with “black money.”

The defendant, Gokhale, referred to “Swiss bank accounts” and “foreign black money” in one of his tweets and tagged the Union Finance Minister to order the Enforcement Directorate to conduct a money-laundering investigation into the Plaintiff and her husband, the petition stated.

Puri is seeking a mandatory injunction ordering Defendant to immediately remove the Tweets. Additionally, she sought a decree awarding her Rs 5,00,00,000 in damages against the Defendant and directing that the same be deposited in the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergencies Fund.

source: ANI

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