Rajat Sharma files defamation suit against Cong leaders Ragini Nayak, Ramesh, Khera


PTI, Jun 14, 2024, 7:41 PM IST

PTI photo

Veteran journalist Rajat Sharma Friday claimed before the Delhi High Court that he was defamed by Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh and Pawan Khera over use of “abusive language” during his show on the Lok Sabha elections result day.

Sharma’s counsel urged the court to grant ex-parte relief by ordering removal of the alleged offensive tweets and videos against him on social media and restraining the political leaders from making allegations against him.

The lawsuit came up for hearing before a vacation bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna who, after hearing arguments on behalf of Sharma, reserved the order on the interim prayer.

“Arguments heard. Order in chamber,” the judge said.

Sharma, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Independent News Service Private Limited (INDIA TV), was also present during the hearing.

The controversy arose after Nayak accused Sharma of abusing her on national television during a debate on the show on the counting day of 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sharma’s counsel said while the debate was happening on the channel on the evening of June 4, the day when election results came, the Congress leaders started tweeting only on June 10 and 11.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing Sharma, contended that a clip of the show was being circulated in which an abuse had been inserted whereas the original footage does not contain any such content.

He also played the video clip for perusal of the court.

“There is no abuse. Six days after the live show they tweet that this anchor has used abuse against this lady. They held a press conference on June 11. On June 4, she did not say there was any abuse. She did not hear it on that day,” the senior lawyer submitted.

“The program is live telecast. They had no grievance till June 10th night, for six days. Surely defendant nos. 4-6 (Congress leaders) are having friends, followers and family members who would have pointed out if they heard. They got into some design (against Sharma)…,” Singh argued.

Urging the court to grant an ex-parte injunction, the lawyer contended that personal reputation of the journalist was involved and immediate orders are required in such cases.

He prayed that the tweets be taken down immediately as their presence on social media is causing loss to the journalist’s reputation earned in the last four decades.

“This was a live show and millions of people were watching it. If it remains there, people will keep on abusing him. The balance of convenience lies in favour of the plaintiff (Sharma). It should be removed immediately. I (Sharma) am not known for shouting or abusing anyone. I am known for my civilized behaviour,” Sharma submitted.

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