The Delhi High Court directed Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D'Souza to take down any defamatory material on social media connected with the controversy surrounding BJP leader Smriti Irani's daughter Zoish and the latter's Goan restaurant Silly Souls.
Justice Mini Pushkarna observed that prime facie the material was "slanderous" and the allegations were made without verifying actual facts while issuing summons to the Congress leaders. Grave injury has been caused to Irani's reputation in view of the tweets and retweets carried out due to the press conference called by the Congress leaders, Justice Pushkarna said.
The Woman and Child Development minister has filed a defamation suit and is seeking Rs. 2 crores in damages. Irani has made out a prima facie case and the balance of convenience lies in her favour, the high court added.
The high court also granted an ad interim injunction directing the Congress leaders to delete and remove the allegations made during the press conference from all social media platforms. "They are also directed to remove the post, videos, tweets, retweets, morphed pictures of the plaintiff (Irani) and her daughter along with the allegations and stop their recirculation," the order added.
If the Congress leaders fail to comply with court directions within 24 hours of this order, the social media platforms are directed to take down the material, the high court said.
Earlier this week, a political row erupted between the BJP leader and Congress party leaders over a luxury restaurant— Silly Souls Cafe and Bar in Goa's Assagao, allegedly operated by Irani's daughter Zoish. It was found that the restaurant and bar had renewed their liquor license by providing documents to authorities of a deceased person– Anthony Dgama.
In her plea before the high court, Irani argued that the allegations are false, defamatory, and are being continuously watched and commented on by people on public forums.
"That the continuous telecast/viewership of said allegations on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, has caused grave prejudice to the applicant and same is nothing less than a deliberate smear campaign based on a personal and political vendetta," Irani's defamation suit said.
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