The Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal of Bloomberg Television Production Services India Private Limited against the order of the Additional District Judge (ADJ) by which it directed to take down a defamatory news article against Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.

Bloomberg had filed an appeal under Order XLIII Rule 1(r) read with Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) against the ADJ who granted an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in an application filed by the Zee Entertainment.

A Single Bench of Justice Shalinder Kaur said, “A reading of the impugned order suggests that the learned ADJ applied his mind to the facts of this case and satisfied himself that prima facie there was enough material to come to the conclusion for the purpose of granting an ex-parte ad-interim injunction, otherwise the entire purpose of filing the application would have been rendered infructuous. Being conscious of the provisions of Order XXXIX Rule 3A of the Code of Civil Procedure, the learned ADJ has fixed the next date of hearing as 26.03.2024 for deciding the application under Order XXXIX Rule 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. I, thus, do not find any ground to interfere with the order impugned herein.”

The Bench noted that the settled law is that unless there is a grave urgency shown as to entertain an appeal against an ex-parte ad-interim order, an appeal is not maintainable either under Order XLI Rule 1 of CPC or under Section 10 of the Delhi High Court Act against an ex-parte ad-interim order.

Senior Advocates Rajiv Nayar and Jayant Mehta appeared for the appellants while Senior Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appeared for the respondent.

In this case, on February 21, 2024, an Article titled as “India Regulator Uncovers $241 Million Accounting Issue at Zee” was published on the website of Bloomberg. It was contended by the appellants that Article was based on proper research and after confirmation of the contents thereunder from reliable resources. The appellants further contended that they had also approached Zee seeking quotes on the subject to which it had replied and the communication exchanged was filed by Zee in the Suit, which is a testament to the fact that the appellants had approached the respondent to maintain the standards of integrity and fair speech.

Further, it was contended that the contents of the Article are not a matter of the opinion of the appellants and reflects the higher standards of ethics, journalism and professional etiquettes employed by the appellants in preparing and/or publishing the Article in question. Aggrieved by the Article, the respondent filed a suit for declaration and mandatory injunction and along with the suit, the respondent also preferred an application under Order XXXIX Rule 1 and 2 of CPC. The ADJ granted injunction in favour of the respondent and against the appellants. Hence, the appellants approached the High Court.

The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “Order XXXIX Rule 3 read with Order XLIII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure shows that in fact no appeal lies against an order passed under Order XXXIX Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is also settled law as laid down by the Hon‟ble Supreme Court in the case of Wander Ltd & Anr vs Antox India Pvt. Ltd. (Supra) that it will not be appropriate for the Appellate Court to substitute its own discretion differently from the discretion exercised by the Court of first jurisdiction.”

The Court further said that ADJ has clearly taken into consideration relevant factors for the purpose of grant of ex-parte ad-interim injunction and there is no final adjudication on the subject matter of the suit which is at the very threshold. It took note of the fact that the ADJ is yet to hear the appellants and dispose of the interim application.

“Insofar as the other submissions of the Appellants on their defence and the documents placed with their written submissions are concerned, these issues were not placed before the learned ADJ. The appellants have rushed to this Court without exploring the option of filing their reply to the application under Order XXXIX Rule 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure and/ or application under Order XXXIX Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure for modification of the ex-parte ad-interim order”, it also noted.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title- Bloomberg Television Production Services India Private Limited & Ors. v. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Neutral Citation: 2024:DHC:2061)


Appellants: Senior Advocates Rajiv Nayar, Jayant Mehta, Advocates Shiv Sapra, Samiron Borkataky, Rajat Gava, Ikshvaaku Marwah, and Sanskriti Shrimali.

Respondent: Senior Advocates Vijay Aggarwal, Advocates Naman Joshi, Tarun Singla, Sidhu, Aayushi Bansal, and Raddharaman Rajoria.

Click here to read/download the Judgment