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AAP’s remarks against L-G ‘defamatory’, made to tarnish his reputation: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that various “corruption allegations” made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its senior leaders against Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena are prima facie “defamatory”, saying the remarks were made in a “reckless” manner to tarnish his reputation.

IANS | New Delhi |

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday observed that various “corruption allegations” made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and its senior leaders against Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena are prima facie “defamatory”, saying the remarks were made in a “reckless” manner to tarnish his reputation.

Restraining the AAP and its five leaders– Sanjay Singh, Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Jasmine Shah and Durgesh Pathak — from posting or making any defamatory or factually incorrect tweets or comments against Saxena or his daughter, Justice Amit Bansal said the damage caused to the reputation of an individual is immediate and far-reaching on the internet.

“So long as the impugned content continues to be in circulation and visible on social media, it is likely to cause continuing damage to the reputation and image of the plaintiff (LG),” the order added.

The order further said, Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution afford the right of freedom of speech and expression to all persons. However, the same is subject to restrictions under Article 19(2), which includes defamation. Therefore, the right to freedom of speech and expression is not an unfettered right in the garb of which defamatory statements can be made to tarnish the reputation of a person.

“The fundamental right to freedom of speech has to be counterbalanced with the right of reputation of an individual, which has been held to be a basic element of the right to life consecrated in Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” it maintained.

Checking the allegations of corruption during demonetisation, the court said, these remarks are completely unsubstantiated.

“Even if the aforesaid statements are taken to be correct, the said statements are completely based on hearsay, being premised solely on the accused persons being told by other individuals that the said acts were to be done at the behest of the Chairman.

“Further, the subject matter of the aforesaid statement is a sum of Rs 17,00,000/-, which has been exaggerated by the defendants many times over, to a fanciful sum of Rs 1,400,00,00,000/ (rupees one thousand four hundred crores)”, the order read.

Regarding AAP’s charge in respect of a contract of Rs 80 crore assigned to L-G’s daughter while he was the Chairman of KVIC, the court said, the allgations are imaginary and there is no material to substantiate it.

“There is no material on record to substantiate the aforesaid statement,” it held.

On another allegation on irregularities of the cash distribution to the weavers in Bhagalpur, Bihar while Saxena was the Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, the court said; “I have perused the order of the Patna High Court. There is nothing in the said order that indicts the plaintiff (LG) in any manner. Even if some irregularities occurred while the plaintiff was the Chairman of KVIC, the plaintiff cannot be made personally liable for the same. This cannot be the basis of a personal attack against the plaintiff,” it was observed.