High Court (India)

June 02, 2020

APN Live temporarily restrained from airing or propagating defamatory content against Patanjali Ayurved by Delhi HC

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. (Plaintiff) moved the Delhi High Court after it discovered about the telecasting /broadcasting of false, malicious, misleading and defamatory material on the news channel APN Live which is the portal of the Defendants (Sobhagya Media Pvt. Ltd.).

According to the counsel for the Plaintiff, the defamatory publications included grave allegations against the Plaintiffs insinuating that the Plaintiff has illegally sold off Red-Sander Wood against the interests of the country.

The counsel for the Plaintiff alleged that none of the news / videos / posts have taken into account the order of the Ld. Additional Commissioner of Customs vide Custom Assessment Order dated September 16, 2019 under Section 128 of the Customs Act, 1962 wherein the Ld. Additional Commissioner dropped all proceedings against the Plaintiffs with regard to Red Sanders seized in February 2018 that were being exported to China and allowed the release of the seized Red Sanders further granting permission to the Plaintiff to export the same, thus belying all claims made in the impugned news / videos.  It was further alleged that the said news being still freely available in the public domain and is creating false aspersions against the reputation of the Plaintiffs.

The Plaintiffs immediately took steps to initiate complaint proceedings on May 16, 2020 against the Defendants on their portals and sent them.  The Defendants however sent automated responses dated May 16, 2020 stating that the complaint of the Plaintiffs is acknowledged and is under consideration. 

The Plaintiff’s Counsel also submitted that the Defendants have violated the Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitution and that the defamatory assertions of the Defendants are not supported by any evidence at all, inasmuch as the same have been aired without verifying facts and / or documents, which goes against the basic tenets of ethical and fair journalism. He also stated that under Rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology (Intermediaries) Guidelines Rules, 2011, the Defendants are obligated to observe certain due diligence while discharging their duties. He further alleged that the Defendants have disregarded the Rule of Law and have left no stone unturned to vilify, malign and denigrate the name, image, reputation and good will of the Plaintiffs in the eyes of the general public.

Justice V. Kameswar Rao of the Delhi High Court who presided over the case took into consideration the submissions and restrained the Defendants from airing or propagating or publishing/telecasting any material or views or Articles in any manner that might malign the reputation of the Plaintiff in the public domain till the next date of hearing. He also directed that YouTube and Facebook shall remove / restrict access / block the URLs which contain defamatory video or part thereof for the Indian domain.

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