The Delhi High Court, on 25th September, pronounced that the tweets by columnist Rakesh Simha against the India Today Group and its Consulting Editor, Rajdeep Sardesai, as prima facie defamatory. While giving summons to Simha in the petition filed by Living Media India Limited (India Today Group), the Court has asked Twitter to take the tweets being referred to, down.
The tweets, posted by the previous India Today Group representative, Rakesh Krishnan Simha, among other charges, are said to contain a cuss word while blaming Sardesai for having been paid for his interview with celebrity Rhea Chakraborty.
In proceedings under the Delhi High Court, the tweets were said to be abusive and evidently bogus. The order passed by a bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher states:
“Regardless, the use of cuss words against a representative of the plaintiffs, not just affects the reputation of the concerned individual and brings down his image in front of his friends, colleagues, peers and partners but also impinges upon the business interests of the plaintiffs .Since social media platforms are accessed by a large number of persons of various ages, it is expected of users to display sobriety and common courtesies to those towards whom the comments are directed.”
Aside from the tweets against Sardesai, Simha’s charges that the India Today Group killed a story on one Sumit Mukherjee; distorted insights identifying with the dissemination of its magazine; and made bogus claims about the publication of the book Weapons of Peace: Secret Story of India’s Quest to Be a Nuclear Power, composed by the Group’s Managing Editor, Raj Chengappa, raised doubts in the Delhi High Court.
Countering Simha’s claims, Advocate Hrishikesh Barua, submitted:
The story identifying with Mukherjee was distributed by the India Today magazine in 2003, a lot after Simha was given his calming request. The Group’s pronounced course figures were upheld by measurements.
Chengappa’s book was published by Harper Collins and not by the Group’s sister distribution ‘Books Today’, as asserted by Simha.
Observing these entries Justice Shakdher watched: “I am of the view that the plaintiffs have made out, at any rate at this stage, at prima facie case in support of themselves that the criticized tweets need justification.”
With these comments, the Court gave notice and posted the issue for November 19th.