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JUDICIARY WATCH

HC reserves order on The Wire plea

Agency, PTI, New Delhi
17/11/2017   0 Comments

The Gujarat High Court today reserved its order on a petition filed by online news portal 'The Wire' challenging a gag order passed by a lower court in a civil defamation case filed by BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah.

Jay Shah submitted his affidavit before the high court judge Paresh Upadhyay today.

In the affidavit, Shah said the appeal against the ex- parte interim order was "not maintainable" and "deserves to be dismissed".

He also said the applicant has not given "any justification" behind the plea.

The petition was filed by the portal's management, the Foundation for Independent Journalism, challenging the gag order passed by a civil court on October 12 on a story carried by it (The Wire) titled "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah".

The petitioner had told the high court that the order passed by a civil court had not shown how the story had affected Shah's reputation.

The high court, however, had not given interim relief to the petitioner saying that it first wanted to hear the respondent.

The Wire had maintained that the story about the surge of revenue of Shah's company Temple Enterprise Private Ltd was factually correct and based on the documents obtained from a government office.

The lower court had issued the gag order against The Wire in response to a civil defamation suit of Rs 100 crore filed by Shah against the reporters, editors and the company over the article which claimed that his company's turnover rose 16,000 times in one year after the NDA came to power.

The company saw a huge rise in its turnover after the BJP came to power in 2014, and its revenue rose from Rs 50,000 to over Rs 80 crore in one year, the article claimed.

It triggered a political firestorm, with the Congress demanding an inquiry into the matter, while the BJP termed it as "slanderous".

Shah has also filed a criminal defamation suit against the author of the article Rohini Singh, founding editors of the news portal Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and M K Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism.

In his suit, Shah termed the article as "scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libelous and consisting of several defamatory statements.

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