#BombayHighCourt to hear the plea filed by #ShilpaShetty to restrain publication of defamatory information against her in connection with the arrest of her husband #RajKundra in porn film racket case.

The New Indian Express, India TV, Free Press Journal, NDTV, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook, among others have been made parties to the defamation suit by Shetty.

@NewIndianXpress @indiatvnews @fpjindia @ndtv @Facebook @instagram

The plea also seeks interim injunctions against the defendants.

Hearing begins before Justice GS Patel.

Sr Adv Birendra Saraf with Adv Abhinav Chandrachud appears for Shetty.

Saraf: Please see the content.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: It is underwhelming. Your prayer for supervising editorial content is dangerous.
You are seeking compensation from everyone and John Doe. How is that going to work?

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: This page on NDTV coverage.. How is this defamatory? You are saying if you cannot say anything nice about Shilpa Shetty, do not say anything at all..?

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: Are all defendants are here?

Everyone says they are.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: You are not going to get reliefs, if you haven’t served them..

Saraf: I have..

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel refers to a paragraph in the plaint and asks how is this defamatory?

Saraf: How can they say I am suspected of destructing evidence? There is nothing to show that..

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf: Crime Branch is inclined to think that I have removed evidence.. From where are they getting this?

Justice Patel: From the crime branch...

Saraf: Just let me place..

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: Do you want the Court to now go into every news report against your client. This allegation is of suspicion and not conviction.
There is a thin line. This is every level sensation.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Justice Patel: What is defamatory about saying something about the Shilpa Shetty? What is so special.. You choose a life in the public eye, part of this comes in the territory. There is no law on this. Judgments are there… How many times do we have to go with this…

Justice Patel: You are seeking a gag order, when they have not been given an opportunity to justify themselves.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf: There are discussions on the mother, son, etc. The officer of the crime branch said, that they are investigating but they have not found anything.. Nothing on this..
Please look at the next thing, ‘she is more concerned with loosing out advertisement..’

Court: This is one reporter (reads out name).. How does it justify against news channels, Free Press Journal..?
Where is this put up?

Saraf: Last night he removed it from Youtube and then he smugly said,I have received a piece of paper..

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Court: I am not going to take def 20’s view and apply it to everyone.
Let us take this one by one.

Saraf shows him the exhibits annexed in the plaint.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Court: but this is something from the crime branch, what they have told to them. Rightly wrongly, how is it defamatory!
Let me be clear, there is a separate pending case. By necessary implication, this will interfere with that…

Saraf: I am making an application…

Court: A reportage on what the police source has said is by definition never defamatory!!
By law it is not!

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf: Very well, milords may pass an order...

Court: how is her crying a defamatory news?!

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf: How is what happens with my husband a news..?

Court: This happened in the presence of outsiders… in a matter which is of some public concern, or seems to be of some public concern.
What you are asking is to curb freedom of press, I am not doing it!

Court: Give me instances of individuals like you showed on page 20, by an individual who is doing it for selacious purposes, or someone doing it mischief, whatever reasons I don’t know.
Not attributing it to a source.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Court: Then I will consider passing an order, even stricter order.

Is someone present for def 20?

Saraf: I will bring a narrower case by 2.30 pm.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Matter kept back at 2.30 pm.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf: Shows an article from the petition.

Court: The fact that I am not passing an ad-interim order or you are not pressing for the relief, does not mean your case goes.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Saraf relies upon the Putthuswamy case.

Court: There is constitutional tension between the right to privacy and press in light of the Putthuswamy. In your case, if something happened between husband and wife in the house, then yes privacy is there..
Court: But when the next statement is made which comments on the moral instruction, then there is a line drawn at that..
But when there is reportage on the source telling a reporter, then I don’t know..
Saraf: Please see para 1.. I am not asking for an order, even observations will help..

Court: But an injunction against news channels like NDTV…

Saraf: No not like that, not an order, but..
Saraf: Your lordships may grant any protection, your lordships may deem fit.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Court: Is there any other submission on law that have to be made, that I should consider?

Saraf: That is all, Puttuswamy and..

Court: Yes but it does not merit an ad-interim relief…

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Court: And against YouTube, Facebook, etc..

Sarf: I did not want to censor them, just that they take down whatever they have put..

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Order: This is adinterim application in suit for urgent injunctive relief in action for damage due to defamation. The plaintiff is well known actor and has had a career in the media and the fashion world.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Order: the plaintiff is married to one Mr. Raj Kundra a businessman apparently with various enterprises and interests. Recently Mr. Kundra stands accused in certain criminal proceedings.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Order: the subject matter of those criminal proceedings are of no concern to me today except that those proceedings are sought to be applied in a derogatory manner to her.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
Order: Saraf and Chandrachud make it abundantly clear that it is not their application to suggest that there should be pre-censorship or gagging of the media.

#BombayHighCourt #ShilpaShetty
OrdeR: They do point out some comments which have come up from sources which are per se defamatory and do not amount to fair reportage and that Shetty has right to privacy in her cases. The plaint itself itemises several pieces of content that have appeared.
Order: And of which Shetty complains stating they are all defamatory. There are 29 Defendants to the suit. 29 is a John Doe party. Among the others there are publications and then there are persons who are concerned with the publications.
Order: Defendants - Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, these entities are not required in law to engage in any censoring or editorial activity beyond ensuring a compliance with their own terms of service.
Order: What they do point out is that there are at least some statements that have appeared online specifically those by Defendant 17, 19, 20 which are totally indefensible.
Order: Defendant 17 is a TV channel in UP, 19 says she is an online journalist. She also claims to be a friend of Shetty, though that now may be a thing of the past. Def 20 has personal Youtube account.
Order: Other def includes Free Press Journal, NDTV, and some other enterprises such as Def 2 which is PeepingMoon.com
Order: I believe some of the issues this suit raises will amount to scrutiny because it is not possible to say at this stage that alll statements of all defendants are defamatory in nature. Saraf has on instructions has restricted his application to 2-3 cases.
Order: But this does not mean I have rejected his application for others nor to mean that he has conceded he has no case against the others.
As far as 17 is concerned, there was a defamatory video uploaded.
Order: Saraf complains about the initial portion where a rhetorical is posed by D17 in the video including whether Shetty is putting up a pretense of being upset. In fact that question is worded as set of 3 questions but in such a manner that the answer to any of them
ORder: would be adverse to Shetty. Had it been only this, I would have little to say. D17 in the latter part has actually gone ahead with Shetty’s reaction which clearly portrays her as being duplicitous at a personal level.
Order: She has been found guilty of what no one can tell, and what no one knows and for what reasons remain unclear. This video by D17 uploaded on July 26 will need to be taken down.
Order: D19 stands similarly accused of having put up a defamatory video. She is represented today. Her Adv states that this video has been taken down and says that it will not be uploaded again.
Order: D20 is an individual. He also published and uploaded on YouTube a video but then a transcript of this shows that the defendant included in the course of that video a statement on the moral standing of Shetty and he went on to question the quality of her parenting.
Order: Whether this is malicious or reckless disregard to the truth or made knowing it to be false, we will consider on another day.But I am told that it has been taken down, which shall remain and not to be uploaded again.
Order: Then there is material published by PeepingMoon. This directly relates to the investigation into Mr. Kundra. The reports says that Shetty is suspected of destruction of evidence.
ORder: the material here seems to be prima facie drawn from an understanding of what investigating teams have said or indicated. The reported is not of Shetty’s guilt or innocence, bt of what an investigative agency suspects. I am not inclined to pass an order on this =
Order: NO part of this order be construed as a gag on the media. I am making no order, but this is not refusal or interim or ad interim relief.

Statements of 17, 19, seem to me to be malicious and with not a slightest attempt to find the truth.
Order: 17 or 19 have not asked Shetty for her views or opinion on the video..

So far as the other defendants are concerned, they will file off in reply. A single consolidated rejoinder is permitted.
Order: I will list the matter on September 20, 2021.

Saraf: D20 and her observations, would your lordships change the reckless.. Nothing can warrant the discussion on the parenting.

Order: None of this involved or should involve around parenting of her children.
Order: That part is protected by her right of privacy under the wide protection recognised by the freedom of press to be balanced with right of privacy. It is possible that freedom of speech may have to be narrowly tailored.
Order: But it is not possible to ignore the constitutional pinning of privacy nor to say that if a person is a public figure, that person is deemed to have sacrificed his right to privacy.
Hearing ends.

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