Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], October 10 (ANI): The defamation suit filed by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey and others is wrongly instituted and therefore no injunction can be granted in the matter, the defendant's lawyer argued before a Ranchi court on Friday.
Soren had recently filed a Rs 100 crore each defamation suit against Dubey and others alleging they have been publishing defamatory statements attacking Soren falsely and maliciously to bring him into public scandal, odium, contempt, and hatred and tarnishing his reputation.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for defendant Nishikant Dubey on Friday, submitted that the suit is not maintainable as the plaintiff (Hemant Soren) does not even know his own stand which is explicit from the contents of the suit itself.
During the hearing, held through video conferencing before the court of Vaishali Srivastava (civil court) in Ranchi, advocate Aggarwal argued that the other two defendants Twitter Communications India Private Limited and Facebook India Online Services Private Limited have been roped in wrongly as they do not play any role whatsoever in the operation and management of these social networking websites twitter.com and facebook.com.
"Further, their terms of service are publicly available on their respective websites which is a public domain and they both are controlled by their respective entities operating through offices in the USA," Aggarwal said. The counsel appearing for Facebook also supported the arguments of Aggarwal.
Aggarwal argued that whatever has been stated by Nishikant Dubey is in the public domain and comes under the category of the common law defence of "Fair comment /opinion expressed and fair criticism." Hence, as this test of fair comment /material in the public domain is satisfied, no injunctive relief can be granted He also stated that the concept of locus standi is foreign to criminal jurisprudence and anybody can seek investigation, he said.
The lawyer also submitted that the plaintif is a public figure and has been elected as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. "The public is obviously interested in the activities of a figure like te plaintiff and there can be no distinction imposed on the right to comment upon the conduct of the plaintiff," he said.
"That right to privacy no longer subsists and it becomes a legitimate subject for comment. The plaintiff is an elected representative of the people is expected to set examples of impeccable standards of propriety and a high degree of transparency, accountability, and morality," Agarwal argued before the court.
He also submitted that printed copies obtained from Twitter and Facebook made part of the suit are not even supported with a certificate under Section 65B Of the Evidence Act as per the requirement of the law and hence such material cannot be considered by the court and added that in the wake of the same an injunction cannot be granted.
The civil court, after hearing arguments from both sides, adjourned the matter to October 13 and asked the defendants to file their written submissions on the suit.
In the suit against Dubey, Twitter Communications India Private Limited and Facebook India Online Services Private Limited have also been made the parties and the plaintiff has sought damages in the sum of Rs 100 crores from each of the respondents.
Dubey has been writing continuously against Hemant Soren on various matters on social media platforms. Recently, he took to Twitter and accused "Soren of raping and abducting a woman in Mumbai in 2013". Responding to this, while tagging Dubey, Soren said that he would reply to his allegations through a legal channel. (ANI)