The Delhi High Court through Justice Vipin Sanghi, in the case of Naveen Jindal vs M/S Zee Media Corporation and Anr, noted that under Order 11 Rule 14 of the CPC, the Court has the power to direct production of documents relevant to the issue in question and necessary for the fair disposal of the case and which are in the possession of the person against whom the discovery has been sought. The Court further noted that though the onus of proving defamation is on the person alleging the same, no evidence needs to be led towards the facts and issues which aren’t disputed by the parties.
In this case, Naveen Jindal sought permanent, prohibitory and mandatory injunction and damages against Zee Media Corp. for having aired and published some mala fide and defamatory news articles against him. The High Court had granted an interim injunction prohibiting the airing and publishing of the said content.
An application was moved under Order 11 Rule 14 of the CPC to direct Zee Media Corp to hand over the original news article and telecasted programme. The Joint Registrar, allowing the production of the documents, noted that in order to shorten the trial, Courts have been empowered to order the production and also have the discretion to examine the documents material to the trial.
The counsel for the defendants argued that the onus to prove defamation lies on the party alleging it and therefore, the defendants should not be called upon to produce any material which could be used against them.
The counsel for the petitioner argued that since the defendants hadn’t denied the airing and publication of the defamatory material and were in possession of the originals, the same are entitled to discovery under Order 11 Rule 14 of the CP, in order to expedite the examination of such documents by the Court.
The Court allowed the application for production of documents.
Read the Judgment here.