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Delhi High Court tells AAP leaders to remove defamatory content from social media against BJP’s Shyam Jaju, son

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The High Court of Delhi on Friday directed Aam Aadmi Party leaders Saurabh Bhardwaj, Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh and Dilip Kumar Pandey to remove the alleged defamatory material and allegations made on social media platforms against former BJP National Vice-President Shyam Jaju and his son, Sandesh Jaju.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla observed that prima facie a case was made out in favour of Jaju and his son for grant of interim relief.

Jaju had moved the High Court by way of a suit seeking permanent and mandatory injunction on the statements made by the AAP leaders in a press conference on January 22.

The leaders had alleged that Shyam Jaju, through his son Sandesh, had made illegal earnings through a company named Majboot Solutions Private Limited.

They further alleged that the company was involved in a large number of transactions related to buying and selling of immovable properties worth crores of rupees.

Filed through Advocate Samapika Biswal, the suit contended that the statements were ex facie false and unsubstantiated, per se defamatory, slanderous and libellous.

Shyam jaju and his son were represented by Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, who contended that the press conference was broadcast live on digital platforms and continued to remain accessible to the public. 

He added that the allegedly defamatory statements have also been re-published and carried out by the print and digital media.

As per Jethmamani, the Defamatory Statements had evoked a sharp sense of prejudice and unwarranted reaction from the public at large, who were being misled at the instance of the Defendant Nos 1-4. 

The suit alleged that the Defendant Nos 1-4 made the Defamatory Statements not just against the Plaintiffs, but also made innuendos and implications against the political party of which the Plaintiff No. 1 was a member, by falsely alleging that the registered address of the company was at the Head Office of BJP, in order to sensationalise and harm the reputation of the Plaintiffs.

It sought a mandatory injunction against the AAP leaders, directing them to take down or delete the allegedly defamatory material published on the social media platforms, including on Twitter, YouTube and Meta relating to the allegations made in the press conference.

The suit further sought directions to the social media platforms and news portals to take down or delete the material published.

The social media platforms and news organisations in the case include Twitter, Google, Meta, ABP Network, The Print, The Indian Express, Hindustan Media Ventures Limited, Zee Media, Times Group, ANI, Network18, NDTV and Scroll.

The suit further sought unconditional public apology from AAP leaders for making false and defamatory statements against the plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs sought damages to the tune of Rs five crore to be deposited in the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund.

(Case title: Shyam Jaju & Anr vs Saurabh Bhardwaj & Ors)

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