17 May 2023 7:45 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass any interim injunction order for now in favour of former cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir in the defamation suit filed by him against Hindi daily newspaper Punjab Kesari and its reporters seeking to restrain them from making any allegedly defamatory publication against him.Justice Chandra Dhari Singh issued notice on Gambhir’s...
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass any interim injunction order for now in favour of former cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir in the defamation suit filed by him against Hindi daily newspaper Punjab Kesari and its reporters seeking to restrain them from making any allegedly defamatory publication against him.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh issued notice on Gambhir’s application seeking interim relief and listed it for hearing in October.
The application seeking ad-interim relief was filed by Gambhir in his suit which seeks an unconditional written apology from the newspaper for publishing certain “malicious and false publications” against him.
In the suit moved through Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, Gambhir has also sought damages of Rs. 2 crores from Punjab Kesari. The defendants in the suit are Punjab Kesari, its editor in chief Aditya Chopra and three reporters.
The defamation suit has been filed by Gambhir over certain articles published by the newspaper since last year. The news reports include “Sansad Gautam Gambhir Lapata Gali-Gali Me Lage Poster”, “Dilli ke lapata Sansad Lucknow Super Giants ke liye bane Bhasmasur” and “Ye Naye Mijaz ke Sansad hai Jara Faaslo se Mila Karo.”
During the course of hearing today, Dehadrai submitted that the newspaper has been targeting Gambhir and that it is not the case of fair or objective reporting.
“The articles are deeply malicious. This is perhaps at the behest of someone else,” Dehadrai contended.
Taking the court through the publications in question, Dehadrai said that while it has been held in various judgments that the opinions and views of the concerned person must be taken before publishing any article, Gambhir’s opinion were not sought by Punjab Kesari newspaper or its reporters.
Hearing the same, Justice Singh orally told Dehadrai: “You are a public servant, you need not be so sensitive.”
Dehadrai then said: “I concede to what your lordships said in the beginning that I need not be so sensitive, but can it possibly be that two reporters in same style keep attacking me? That he is busy with IPL, he is a useless politician who shouldn't be taken seriously. It's disturbing. Any innocent man's reputation is targetted in this fashion.”
The court then said that prima facie, it was satisfied that the matter requires consideration and summons must be issued against the defendants.
“Any public person should be thick skinned. Otherwise social media etc. Nowadays judges should also be thick skinned,” Justice Singh orally remarked in a lighter vein during the hearing as Dehadrai pressed for interim relief.
Justice Singh also told Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao who appeared for the newspaper and its editor in chief: “If you read the articles, in the prima facie opinion, the reporter is behind this person. Some of the words and sentences that he has used is not proper for your publication.”
However, the court did not pass any interim order in the matter today and sought response of the defendants in Gambhir’s application seeking ad interim relief.
It is Gambhir’s case that the newspaper and its reporters have been intentionally publishing false and defamatory articles with a view to damage his reputation. The suit submits that despite a legal notice to the newspaper on November 23 last year asking it to cease and desist from making any defamatory publication against Gambhir, no response was received till date.
The suit seeking mandatory injunction is also accompanied with an application for temporary injunction.
In the interim, Gambhir had sought direction upon the newspaper to immediately withdraw the allegedly defamatory publications made against him and also to restrain it from making any similar publication, till the pendency of the suit.
Title: GAUTAM GAMBHIR v. PUNJAB KESARI & ORS.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 410