Delhi High Court cracks whip on Zee News in defamation suit
The Court directed the news channel to publish comments by the Gupta brothers in the South African riots case
The Delhi High Court has directed India's private news channel Zee News to publish comments of the Gupta brothers of South Africa in relation to the riots in the African country.
A single-judge court of Justice Jayant Nath asked Zee News and the host of its primetime show Daily News Analysis (DNA) Sudhir Chaudhary (defendants) to publish comments of Ajay Kumar Gupta (plaintiff) and his brothers on their platforms within five days in a defamation suit filed against the news channel.
The suit was filed against Zee News, Sudhir Chaudhary, who is editor-in-chief of the Hindi news channel, and DNA for allegedly broadcasting defamatory content against Ajay Kumar Gupta and his brothers on the primetime show Daily News Analysis.
Justice Jayant Nath also directed Zee News to not publish anything on their platform in relation to the Gupta family without seeking comments from the plaintiffs.
The suit was filed on behalf of the Gupta brothers, a prominent business family of South Africa, for a mandatory injunction, damages and costs through law firm Karanjawala & Co on 30 July.
It was submitted that on 14 July 2021 the defendants broadcasted an episode about the plaintiff and his brothers titled "DNA: What is the connection of South Africa riots to India Gupta family?"
The court was informed that the defendant - DNA India/Diligent Medial Corp. Ltd also published an article on 16 July 2021 titled, "DNA Explainer: What led to unrest in South Africa and role of Gupta brothers."
The plaintiffs submitted to the court that the allegations against them were false, baseless, and highly defamatory. Also that the defendants had attempted to create a false impression that the Plaintiff and his family members were responsible for the ongoing riots, alleged attacks and looting of the people in the Republic of South Africa, without any basis, veracity or evidence.
The plaintiffs issued a legal notice on 19 July asking the defendants to take the defamatory content down and run an apology. The suit was instituted after receiving an unsatisfactory reply from the defendants.
The plaintiffs made the following prayers in the suit:
* Decree of mandatory injunction directing the Defendants, their affiliates, etc. to immediately takedown/delete the broadcast/publication;
* Takedown/delete any further broadcast/publication containing same/similar false allegations;
* Restraining from further broadcasting/publishing;
* Run/publish an unconditional apology on their platform and social media accounts, and
* Decree for damages of ₹2.5 crore.
Senior Advocate Arvind Nayar, who represented the defendants, submitted that the news was last published on 16 July and sought to assure the court that it would not be published again.
Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar, representing the plaintiffs demanded that the existing material on social media be retracted. However, the defendants responded that it was not possible to do so.