The Delhi High Court today asked its registry to inform former Team India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni about filing of a defamation suit against him by his two former business partners.

Plaintiffs and former business partners Mihir Diwakar and his wife Soumya Das have approached the high court seeking a permanent injunction and damages against Dhoni, several social media platforms and media houses and thereby restraining them from making, publishing, circulating per se defamatory, ex facie false and malicious statements against them.

Justice Prathiba M Singh, before whom the plaint came up for hearing, was informed that Dhoni has not been served with the plea by the plaintiffs.

The Court also orally asked the plaintiffs to serve the copy of plaint to the cricketer.

"Before going into the allegations in the plaint and the question whether such an injunction would even be maintainable or any injunction would be liable to be granted, it is deemed appropriate to direct intimation to defendant no. 1 (Dhoni) of filing of the present suit. Let the registry issue an email to defendant no. 1 at the email address. The intimation be also given at the law firm representing him," the Judge said.

The High Court listed the matter for further hearing on January 29 and asked the plaintiffs to file court fees within a week.

Plaintiffs' counsel submitted that an injunction order can be passed even in cases which are sub judice before court.

He said a press conference was held on behalf of the cricketer levelling allegations against the plaintiffs.

To this, the Court said the plaintiffs can also reply in the media and say that they have not cheated.

Counsel for one of the media houses, which has been made a party to the plaint, submitted that the plea was not maintainable.

He submitted that the media house is fully protected under the exception to Section 499 (defamation) of Indian Penal Code, 1860, as the reporting merely covered the proceedings pending in the criminal complaint filed by the cricketer against the plaintiffs before the Ranchi court.

The plaintiffs have sought that the defendants be restrained from damaging the reputation of the plaintiffs in relation to the false allegations allegedly made by Dhoni relating to purported illegal gains of Rs 15 crore from him and breach of a 2017 contract.

Recently, Dhoni filed a criminal case against Diwakar and Das claiming that they have allegedly duped him of around Rs 16 crore by not honouring a contract to establish cricket academies, according to his lawyer.

The case has been filed in a lower court in Ranchi against two directors of Aarka Sports, a sports management company.

Dhoni's representatives had said they have filed a criminal case on behalf of the cricketer in a competent court in Ranchi against Aarka Sports directors Mihir Diwakar and Soumya Das under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.

With PTI Inputs