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Delhi High Court directs journalist Saket Gokhale to remove his tweets against Lakshmi Puri

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The Delhi High Court today has directed journalist Saket Gokhale to remove his alleged tweets against former Indian diplomat Lakshmi Puri that she had purchased properties in Switzerland disproportionate to her income.

Justice C Hari Shankar has disposed of the Application with the following terms- 

(1) Defendant/Saket Gokhale is directed to immediately release from his Twitter Account, all tweets against the plaintiff to which present plaint makes preference as well as all connected tweets which may form part of the trail of tweets by the defendant against the plaintiff.

(2) Defendant/Saket Gokhale is restrained till further orders from posting any defamatory or scandalous or factually incorrect tweet on his Twitter account against the plaintiff.

(3) In event of the defendant failing to comply with direction (1) within 24 hours of the pronouncement of this order, Twitter is directed to take down the tweets configuring on the said URLs. For this purpose, the plaintiff is directed to implead Twitter as an additional defendant in present proceedings and file an amended memo of parties within 24 hours of pronouncement of this order. Copy of this order is forwarded forthwith to Twitter to ensure compliance.

“Twitter is also directed to file Compliance Report before next date of hearing,” said the Court. 

The Court further said, “Since the order is passed in emergent circumstances without waiting for reply, right of a defendant to apply for modification or vacation of this order remains reserved. All observations are only prima facie, meant for the purpose of disposing of prayer of plaintiff for interim relief. Issued summons in main suit. List before Joint Registrar on 10/9/21.”

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The Court has passed its order in a defamation suit filed by Puri seeking damages to the tune of Rs 5 crore, besides an order to take down the tweets.

Gokhale in his tweets last month had referred to a property purchased by Puri in Switzerland and raised questions regarding her and her husband’s assets.

Puri, who was the former Assistant Secretary-General at the United States, in her suit said the tweets are “maliciously motivated and designed accordingly, laced with canards and entail deliberate twisting of facts”.

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