Petition filed by the Sameet Thakkar Appeals Against Delhi High Court Direction To Take Down Tweets Against TV Today Network:
Sameet Thakkar has appealed to the division bench of the Delhi High Court against the interim order passed by a single bench last week directing him to take down his tweets against the TV Today network.
On 18th November, a single bench of Justice Mukta Gupta had passed an interim order directing Thakkar to take down within 48 hours the tweets made by him against TV Today network, which runs the channels India Today and Aaj Tak. On the failure of Thakkar to do so, Twitter was directed to remove the tweets within 72 hours.The order was passed in a suit filed by TV Today Network alleging that Thakkar’s tweets were defamatory. The plaintiff had sought the removal of 29 sets of URLs.
The allegations of Plaintiffvwas that No.1 (Sameet Thakkar) had, on 15th April 2020, during the lockdown period, published 35 tweets on his Twitter handle at one go, making various allegations against the Plaintiff (T.V. Today Network Limited), and its top management.
In the appeal filed against the order, Thakkar has contended that the single bench has overstepped the jurisdiction for interim relief by passing a “blanket order” which in effect amounts to granting the final relief.The appeal filed through Advocates Pratyush Prasanna and Snigdha Singh states that Thakkar intends to plead the defence of truth in the defamation suit. However, the interim order has frustrated his defence and has deprived him of the opportunity to contest the suit, states the appeal.
Ld. Single Judge despite being vehemently apprised of the core defense of truth being pleaded in the Written Statement including the above mentioned I.As, Ld. Single Judge passed a blanket order depriving the Appellant of its valuable right to contest the suit and prove the same in trial
Court observation on 6th October 2020
“The tweets make wild allegations and also use derogatory and defamatory language against the Plaintiff, its management and its employees. The tweets are also very offensive and some contain abusive language. Such a campaign against the Plaintiff, its management and employees can be extremely damaging to their reputation and also cause personal injury to them and their family members. The tweets are in bad taste and use objectionable language including abuses.”
This Court is of the opinion that a prima facie case is made out for grant of interim relief to protect the Plaintiff until the Defendant enters appearance in the matter. Balance of inconvenience is also in favour of the Plaintiff and irreparable injury could be caused to the reputation of the Plaintiff which is a well established media company as also its management and employees if protection is not granted.To restrain from publishing any defamatory or derogatory posts/tweets or making abusive remarks against the Plaintiff, its management, employees including news anchors and their family members either through his Twitter handle or on any other social media platform or any other print/electronic medium
“Defendant No. 1 is directed to take down the said ULRs from its Twitter account within 48 hours of the receipt of copy of such replication from the learned counsel for the plaintiff, failing which the plaintiff would write a letter to the learned counsel for the defendant No. 3 (Twitter) giving the specified 29 sets of ULRs as provided in Para 11 of the replication, which the defendant No. 3 (Twitter) will take down within 72 hours thereafter”
A division bench headed by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad will hear the appeal on Monday, November 23.