The Delhi High Court has granted an ad-interim injunction order in favor of Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia in his defamation lawsuit against several YouTube channels and X users. The suit alleges the dissemination of "defamatory content" regarding an assault on him during a lawyer's strike at the Gautam Budh Nagar District & Sessions Court last month.

In that context, the Bench of Justice Neena Bansal observed that, "The deepfake videos showing the plaintiff being beaten up and the claims of the applicant/plaintiff having been beaten, are nothing but an over-sensationalization and depiction of facts which are patently false. Prima facie dissemination or playing of such videos has not only caused harm to the reputation of the plaintiff as has been asserted by him, but also has the potential of persistent threat of being aired and used against the plaintiff at any time in future. Such being the imminent threat of misuse of the videos in future, which are prima facie depicting applicant/plaintiff in a light which may not be the true facts, is liable to be restrained from being kept in the public domain till the Suit is finally decided."

It was also further observed that, "The balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff for the simple reason that by making these videos private or injuncting them from being available on the public platforms, would not, in any way, infringe on the rights of the defendants of freedom of speech and expression which they can, in any case, exercise within the defined parameters. However, the inconvenience that would result from these videos and X posts/Tweets etc., continuing to remain in public domain, has the potential to cause an inconvenience which may not be possible to be reparated or compensated by damages or otherwise, in future."

The suit was filed against Naveen Kumar (YouTube channel Article 19 India), Neelu Vyas (YouTube Channel The News Launcher), Professor Akhil Swami, YouTube channels Rajeev Nigam and BBI News. Other defendants included X users Sandeep Singh, Vijay Yadav, Netaflix, Sunitajadhav, Guruji, Dawood Nadaf, Drkhatra, and Virus Baba I.N.D.I.A Wala.

The suit sought a permanent and mandatory injunction against the defendants for the “abusive and defamatory statements” made by them against Bhatia on YouTube and X.

Additionally, a direction was sought on Google LLC and X to take down the allegedly defamatory content from the respective platforms.

The Court observed that, "The irreparable loss and injury would be caused to the plaintiff for if the Deepfake videos and Tweets, etc as mentioned above, is allowed to be in the public domain, it would continue to cause harm to his reputation as a respectable member of the Bar which would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiff. No harm would be caused to the defendants if the material is restrained from remaining in public domain till the suit is adjudicated on merits, while these tweets/Memes have a potential of bringing disrepute to the Plaintiff in future with practically no reparation to the damage to his reputation. The applicant/plaintiff may have quantified damages for defamation and to his reputation but if such videos are permitted to remain in public, the harm already caused, would get perpetuated in future. Therefore, the irreparable loss would be caused to the applicant/plaintiff in case the injunction as sought by the applicant/plaintiff is not granted."

In light of the same, the Court directed that the posts which were not removed were to be removed within 7 days, and the videos which were in public domain be made private.


Plaintiff: Senior Counsel Sandeep Sethi, Counsel Utkarsh Jaiswal, Vikas Tiwari

Respondent: Counsels Hemraj Singh, Sanawar, Jatin Bhatt, Ruman Ali, Askim Naeem, Muzakkir Zama, Aditya Gupta, Aishwarya Kan, Sauhard Alung

Cause Title: Gaurav Bhatia vs Naveen Kumar & Ors.

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