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National News
Delete tweets on Smriti Irani's daughter: Delhi HC to Congress leaders
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera, and Netta D’Souza to immediately delete tweets by them in reference to the Goa restaurant of the daughter of Union Minister Smriti Irani and issued summons to them after Irani filed a defamation suit against them.

The leaders have deleted the tweets but have said they will respond to the summons and fight the case in court.

This is likely the first case where a court has asked political leaders to remove tweets and has many ramifications including issues related to fundamental rights.

The court directed the Congress leaders to remove the post and things associated with it, and stop their recirculation.

Irani has filed a civil defamation suit seeking a permanent and mandatory injunction along with damages of more than Rs 2 crore and stated Ramesh, Khera and D’Souza conspired with other “unknown” individuals to launch scathing and belligerent personal remarks to malign and defame her young child.

The top echelons of the government including Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal came out all guns blazing in Irani’s defence after the stand-off between her and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Irani’s daughter’s Goa restaurant venture was also reported on the social media, along with pictures Irani claims are false.

Justice Mini Pushkarna, who heard the case in the Delhi High Court, stated: “I am of the prima facie view that slanderous allegations were made against the plaintiff without verifying actual facts.”

“Grave injury has been caused to the reputation of the plaintiff in view of the tweets and retweets carried out due to the press conference of the defendants,” the court added.

“(The) plaintiff has made out prima facie case and balance of convenience lies in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants. I deem it proper to pass an interim injunction directing Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza to delete and remove the allegations made during the press conference from all social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Inc.

“They are also directed to remove the post, videos, tweets, retweets, morphed pictures of the plaintiff and her daughter along with the allegations and stop their recirculation. If defendants 1-3 fail to comply with the directions within 24 hours of this order, defendants 4-6 (social media platforms) are directed to take down the material,” the court added.

The fallout of Thursday’s events was that the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha worked for exactly 19 minutes.

Before adjourning, the government’s legislative business for next week was announced. The following Bills are expected to be introduced: The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2022; and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2022.

However, the jury is still out on the suspension, which ended on Thursday, of the 23 MPs of different parties.

If their behaviour remains the same when the House meets on Monday, there is a possibility they could be suspended for the rest of the session.

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