18 Aug 2023 6:04 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has directed RSS weekly magazine “Organizer” and another website “The Commune” to remove an article alleging that the Principal of a reputed Christian school in the national capital sexually exploited nuns and Hindu women.Justice Jyoti Singh passed an ex parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the Principal in his suit against the two publications which published...
The Delhi High Court has directed RSS weekly magazine “Organizer” and another website “The Commune” to remove an article alleging that the Principal of a reputed Christian school in the national capital sexually exploited nuns and Hindu women.
Justice Jyoti Singh passed an ex parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the Principal in his suit against the two publications which published the article titled “Indian Catholic Church Sex Scandal: Priest exploiting nuns and Hindu women exposed” in June this year.
The article also claimed that the Principal was engaged in sexual activities with staff members, chefs and students and that he had been accused of financial wrongdoings.
The names of the institutions with which the Principal was concerned were omitted in the order for the sake of anonymity and reputation of the institutions.
Justice Singh observed that the Principal had made out a prima facie case that the impugned article was damaging and tarnishing his image in the society and that as long as the article continues to remain in the public domain, it is likely to continue causing damage to his reputation.
“Balance of convenience also lies in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendants. Irreparable harm and injury shall be caused to the reputation of the Plaintiff if the defamatory article continues on the social media platforms of the Defendants,” the court said.
It was the Principal’s case that he had never been involved in any sexual activity as alleged or a financial wrongdoing with any staff member, chef, student or nuns etc. in any manner and that the article was published only to harm his reputation.
Justice Singh observed that prima facie, the contents of the article were defamatory and that there was merit in the Principal’s submission that the article was published in a reckless manner without any factual verification.
The court also said that the impugned article was tarnishing the image and reputation of the Principal, who is a respectable citizen of the country and associated with several educational institutions.
“No doubt, Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution provides the right of freedom of speech and expression to all persons, however, it cannot be overlooked that the same is subject to restrictions under Article 19(2) which includes defamation,” the court said.
It added, “The right to freedom of speech and expression cannot be taken as an unfettered right so as to defame and tarnish the reputation of another person. It has been repeatedly held by Courts that fundamental right to freedom of speech has to be counterbalanced with the right of reputation of an individual.”
Case Title: XYZ v. BHARAT PRAKASHAN (DELHI) LTD AND ORS
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 700
Click Here To Read Order