Facebook India, Google, YouTube and Twitter India, have been directed to not publish photos and videos that the expelled AIADMK party member alleged were morphed and threatened to tarnish her image in public.
The Delhi High Court in Sasikala Pushpa v. Facebook Indian & Ors., passed an injunction order against four social networking sites Rajya Sabha member Sasikala is opposing viz. Facebook India, Google, YouTube and Twitter India, from publishing photos and videos that she alleged were morphed and threatened to tarnish her image in public.
Justice RK Gauba directed the four social media platforms represented as contesting parties herein, as these morphed photos and videos were capable of causing irreparable damage to her public image.
Sasikala Pushpa prayed for the injunction order on the ground that these platforms had not bothered to verify the authenticity of the materials with her before making it public.
She alleged that she was asked to resign as a party member and upon refusal, was threatened by unknown party persons that they would upload defamatory media content showing her in compromising positions in order to severely embarrass her.
The expelled AIADMK party member pleaded that these acts by individuals who want to work against her interest deliberately, violate her fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.
In her plea, she added that she had received a phone call from an unidentified person, who tried to intimidate her by saying that he would make sure that she is humiliated on social media and that the message spreads far and wide.
“The person threatened her to resign from her constitutional post or else he will start spreading false rumours and allegations against plaintiff, including false statements regarding her moral character. Further, he will also upload lot of pictures on social media,” the plea said.
After hearing the case, the bench decided that an ex parte case of injunction could be made out against the social media parties, who are defendants herein under Order 39 R. 1 & 2 CPC. The court agreed that the balance of convenience lies in her favour as otherwise irreparable loss was likely to be caused if her rights, interest and reputation were not immediately protected.
Allowing Sasikala Pushpa’s prayer, the court said:
“Thus, while issuing notice on the applications, ex parte ad interim injunction is granted restraining defendant nos.1 to 4, their agents, assignees, nominees and servants from publishing, broadcasting, distributing or disseminating in any form or manner whatsoever or continuing from doing so in any manner any defamatory material in the nature of photographs as mentioned above, relating to or arising from, in connection with any alleged acts or behaviour relatable to the plaintiff.”
The court also clarified its stance that it was inherent in the direction against continuation of the publication of the said media content that the defendant social media platforms are also obliged to take all steps to remove the content in question from the website.
Read the Order here.