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'The Wire' Withdraws Plea Filed In SC Challenging Gag Order On Publication Of Jay Shah Article

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Aug 2019 12:05 PM GMT
The Wire Withdraws Plea Filed In SC Challenging Gag Order On Publication Of Jay Shah Article
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The online news portal 'The Wire' and journalist Rohini Singh on Tuesday withdrew the appeals filed by them in the Supreme Court challenging the injunction order passed by the Gujarat High Court against the publication of article on Jay Shah, son of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.The gag order was passed in a defamation suit filed by Jay Shah.Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for...

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The online news portal 'The Wire' and journalist Rohini Singh on Tuesday withdrew the appeals filed by them in the Supreme Court challenging the injunction order passed by the Gujarat High Court against the publication of article on Jay Shah, son of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The gag order was passed in a defamation suit filed by Jay Shah.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the appellants, sought permission to withdraw the appeals saying that they will face the trial.

Though a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra allowed the withdrawal of appeals, pending in the top court for around one-and-a-half years, it expressed anguish over the way journalism is being practised in the country now.

The bench also comprising justices M R Shah and B R Gavai said that it has become a fashion to serve notice to a person for explanation and even before it can be answered, the articles are published within five to six hours.

 The top court said the trial against them will be expeditiously completed by the competent court.

Background

In 2017, Jay Amit Shah filed cases for civil and criminal action for defamation against "The Wire" and Rohini Singh in respect of an article "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah", which had alleged financial irregularities in the income of his company, Temple Enterprises.  

In the suit claiming damages of Rs.100 crores for loss of reputation, the Mirzapur civil court initially passed an ex-parte restraint order against publication and further discussion of the matter. Later, on December 23, 2017, the ex-parte order was vacated after hearing "The Wire", permitting publication of the article, but after omitting references to PM Narendra Modi.

This order was put to challenge by Jay Amit Shah before the Gujarat High Court. The High Court restored the initial gag order.

Statement by The Wire

Regarding today's development, a statement has been issued by founder-editor of The Wire Siddharth Varadarajan as follows :

"Circumstances have arisen as per which we believe it is best if we make use of the opportunity to justify everything we have stated in our article at the trial. We are therefore withdrawing.

We believe the fight for media freedoms will have to be advanced at all levels. Our article was factual, based not only on record but on facts admitted by Jay Amit Shah. Though it is still very much our belief that neither a criminal case nor an injunction is legally justifiable, we intend to face trial in Gujarat secure in the knowledge that the constitutionally mandated rights of the media will eventually prevail."

(With PTI inputs)


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