Goa bar row: Delhi HC seeks response of Smriti Irani on Twitter’s plea

Issuing notice on the petition, Justice Mini Pushkarna granted two weeks' time to the respondents to reply in the matter.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought Union Minister Smriti Irani’s response to tech giant Twitter’s plea for clarification on removing links of defamatory content against her and her daughter in relation to the recent bar controversy.

Earlier, the high court had directed the microblogging site to do away with those web links which contains allegations of three Congress leaders that Irani and her daughter were running an illegal bar in the BJP-ruled Goa.

Twitter said it is only bound to take down similar content which is found to be defamatory on being provided with URLs by Irani. It also sought clarity on the matter as the case is against Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’ Souza, who have leveled the allegations.

Issuing notice on the petition, Justice Mini Pushkarna granted two weeks’ time to the respondents to reply in the matter.

As per the earlier court verdict delivered on July 29, the web links containing all the defamatory remarks against Irani and daughter on Google, and social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have to be disabled.

Last month, the high court also issued notice on a plea by internet companies Google (YouTube) and Twitter seeking details of URLs and web links of objectionable comments made against the Union Minister and her daughter.

In the July 29 order, the court had observed that “neither the restaurant nor the land on which the restaurant exists is owned by the plaintiff or her daughter. Even the show-cause notice issued by the government of Goa is not in the name of the plaintiff or her daughter. All these facts have also been affirmed in the affidavit submitted by the plaintiff”.

The same judge had said: “I am of prima facie view that slanderous and libellous allegations have been levelled against the plaintiff without verifying the actual facts. Great injury has been caused to the reputation of the plaintiff and her family in view of the various tweets and re-tweets which followed the press conference held by defendant No. 1, 2 and 3 (Ramesh, Khera, D’Souza).”

“Defendant No. 1 to 3 (Congress leaders) have conspired with each other and other individuals and organisations to launch a tirade of false, scathing and belligerent personal attack on the plaintiff and her daughter with a common motive to malign, defame and injure the reputation, moral character and public image of the plaintiff and her daughter,” Justice Pushkarna added.

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