Delhi HC Dismisses Minister Kailash Gahlot's Plea To Restrain BJP Leader From Tweeting Against Him
The Delhi High Court today dismissed an interim application by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot seeking to injunct BJP leader Vijender Gupta, who made statements on alleged irregularities in the procurement of 1,000 low floor buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation, from making any defamatory tweets during the pendency of the defamation suit.
Justice Asha Menon passed an interim order and listed the suit for July 12 for framing of issues.
The interim application was filed by Gahlot in his pending defamation suit in which he has also sought Rs. 5 crore damages from Gupta for allegedly making scandalous statements relating to irregularities in the procurement of low floor buses.
He had sought an interim order on the removal of allegedly defamatory statements and posts shared by Gupta on social media against Gahlot.
On August 28, 2021, a Division Bench had refused to interfere with the single judge's order declining to pass an ex-parte interim order on the removal of allegedly defamatory statements and posts shared by Gupta on social media against Gahlot.
The counsel for Gupta had then given an oral assurance to the bench that no tweet or press statement would be issued in relation to the issue of procurement of DTC buses.
On August 27, 2021, the Single Judge had issued summons to Gupta in Gahlot's defamation suit and said that no ex-parte injunction was called for at this stage.
"...in the present case, prima facie, no personal allegations appear to have been specifically made against the plaintiff (Gahlot) except to the extent of saying that the transaction appears to be a scam . At this stage, therefore, no ex-parte injunction is called for", it had said.
It had granted 30 days to the BJP leader to respond to the suit as well as the application for an interim order.
Earlier, Gahlot's counsel had argued that Gupta, his political rival, made unabated tweets doubting the integrity of the minister in relation to the purchase of the low floor buses, in spite of a clean-chit being given by a high-powered committee.
Besides seeking a direction to restrain Gupta from posting/ tweeting/ publishing any defamatory or scandalous or factually incorrect tweets/ posts on social media platforms and giving interviews, writing articles and blogs in respect of the purchase of low floor buses, the suit also sought removal of the allegedly defamatory content from social media.
Gahlot's counsel had earlier submitted that while he was open to criticism with respect to his work, nobody has the right to criticise his reputation.
He had argued that the allegations of corruption levelled by BJP MLA against him are baseless and unsubstantiated.
The Counsel had urged that no further defamatory tweets should be made by Gupta in view of the pendency of the case.
On July 12, 2021, Gupta had written to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal demanding a CBI inquiry into the alleged scam involving procurement of 1,000 low floor buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation.
A three-member committee that probed the matter has recommended scrapping the tender of the AMC (annual maintenance contract) of buses finding various "lapses", he had said.
There has been "irrefutable evidence of irregularities and violations in the AMC bid", he had stated, alleging "criminal conspiracy and connivance" was responsible for it.
With PTI inputs