News Brief

Delhi High Court Rules In Favour Of Rajat Sharma, Orders Congress Leaders, Social Media Platforms To Take Down Defamatory Posts

Swarajya Staff

Jun 16, 2024, 02:23 PM | Updated 02:23 PM IST

Rajat Sharma
Rajat Sharma

In a major setback for Congress, the Delhi High Court has ordered Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera, and social media platforms to remove tweets and videos alleging that senior journalist Rajat Sharma used abusive language during a live show on the day of the Lok Sabha election results.

Rajat Sharma had earlier filed a defamation suit in the Delhi High Court against these Congress leaders seeking the immediate takedown of the posts on X.

In an order passed on 14 June 2024, the bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna stated, "The irreparable loss and injury would be caused to the plaintiff/ Rajat Sharma if the videos and Tweets, etc as mentioned above, are allowed to be in the public domain, it would continue to cause harm to his reputation as a respectable Journalist which would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff."

The court added that "No harm would be caused to the defendants (Congress leaders and social media platforms) if the material is restrained from remaining in the public domain until the suit is adjudicated on merits. However, these tweets have the potential to bring disrepute to the plaintiff in the future, with practically no reparation for the damage to his reputation."

"The plaintiff may have quantified damages for defamation and to his reputation, but if such videos are permitted to remain public, the harm already caused would perpetuate. Therefore, irreparable loss would be caused to the plaintiff if the injunction sought by the plaintiff is not granted," continued the bench.

The court further directed that "the X posts/Tweets which have not been removed, be removed within seven days by the defendants in terms of the Intermediary Guidelines. It is further directed that the videos which are in the public domain be made private by Google India Pvt Ltd and not to be put in the public domain, without the Orders of this Court."

Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak had accused Sharma of abusing her on television on 4 June, the day the votes were counted for the Lok Sabha polls. Ramesh and Khera supported the allegations on X.

Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, representing Rajat Sharma, argued that the senior journalist did not use abusive language and that the allegations were "baseless and are cooked up."

Singh noted that the show was broadcast live on 4 June, and the Congress leaders raised no issues until six days later. He further emphasised that the tweets and allegations were damaging Sharma's reputation.

On 11 June, Rajat Sharma addressed the allegations made against him by the Congress Party by terming them as a conspiracy to slander his name and reputation as a journalist.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.