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'Show Nawab Malik's Tweets Are False' : Bombay High Court To Sameer Wankhede's Father In Defamation Suit

Sharmeen Hakim
10 Nov 2021 12:23 PM GMT
Show Nawab Maliks Tweets Are False : Bombay High Court To Sameer Wankhedes Father In Defamation Suit
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The Court said that the actions of Sameer Wankhede as a public officer can be examined.

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Narcotics Control Bureau's Zonal Director - Sameer Wankhede's father to show that tweets against his son by Maharashtra cabinet minister – Nawab Malik, are false. The court also sought an additional affidavit from Malik demonstrating he verified the information before tweeting against the Wankhedes and accusing Sameer of being born a Muslim...

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The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Narcotics Control Bureau's Zonal Director - Sameer Wankhede's father to show that tweets against his son by Maharashtra cabinet minister – Nawab Malik, are false.

The court also sought an additional affidavit from Malik demonstrating he verified the information before tweeting against the Wankhedes and accusing Sameer of being born a Muslim but securing a job with central government falsely claiming to be from the scheduled caste.

Justice Madhav Jamdar was hearing Sameer's father Dhyandev Wankhede's Rs. 1.25 crore defamation suit against Malik for interim reliefs, to restrain the latter from making any further defamatory statements till pendency of the defamation suit.

"Sameer Wankhede is a public officer, you should prima facie show what he is saying is false. Your son is not any individual, he is a public officer, so his actions can be examined by any member of the public. You have to show the tweets are false," Justice Jamdar told Wankhede's counsel during the hearing.

The comments were in response to Advocate Arshad Shaikh's submissions that he was not obligated to respond to Malik's tweets, as he was merely an MLA and not the court or an authority. Malik, should have first complained to the relevant authority before publishing the statements, he said.

Shaikh further denied having the original birth certificate as cited by Malik according to which Sameer Wankhede is shown as a Muslim and his father Dhyandev Wankhede's name as 'Dawood.'

"We don't have a copy. It is our case it's false," Shaikh then sought time till Friday to bring certain additional documents on record.

Senior Advocate Atul Damle assisted by Advocate Kunal Damle for Malik submitted that they are taking the defence of the truth. However, the court sought to know if Malik had verified facts before tweeting.

"Have you verified the information? You are the spokesperson of a political party. Show that you have verified the information," Justice Jamdar asked.

The court pointed out Malik's reply to the suit in which he states that the authenticity and admissibility of the evidences produced by  him can be decided only at the stage of trial.

"So far as the admissibility is concerned, I can understand, but to say authenticity also needs to be verified?," Justice Jamdar then sought the additional affidavit from Malik.

The court refused to accept Shaikh's statement "Even if Malik's is assumed to be true, but if there is malice involved, then it would amount to defamation."

Shaikh had also pointed out how there was a build-up by Malik to create a wrong impression about the Wankhedes. "First you point out there is a don in pictures. Then you give the name to "Don" as Dawood. Then you accuse him of being a Muslim. Then you come to his sister, that she is in touch with a drug peddler. Then the sister in law."

Justice Jamdar said he didn't want to "gag anybody," but just wanted to ensure that whatever is tweeted is verified beforehand. "I am not getting into the technical objections," referring to Malik's objections that the suit is not maintainable. The court also cited para 26 of the Supreme Court's judgement in R. Rajgopal V/s State of T.N. on the principles of privacy, role of the press and defamation

The matter is now adjourned to November 12.

Background

Dhyandev Wankhede has sought a declaration that Malik's remarks, in press releases or interviews or social media including but not limited to his Twitter account, are "tortious and defamatory in nature," and Rs. 1.25 crore in damages.

Malik in his reply filed yesterday accused Wankhede of attempting to cover-up his son's illegalities by filing a defamation suit against him.


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