Jay Shah defamation case: SC stalls proceedings against website journo

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"Many in the media think they can write anything".

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, observed that the media should be more responsible and said it can not write whatever it feels about anyone.

Jay Shah case: CJI Dipak Misra said he was against gagging media but also said, "we expect the media should be responsible, electronic media should be more responsible". "We are sure the Magistrate shall take note of it and may not proceed with the case till April 12", the court said.

The Wire had earlier published an article "The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah", based on documentary evidence on BJP Chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah in which the Wire had alleged reported Jay shah's company's turnover which grew by multiple times since BJP came to power in 2014.

The oral observations began when senior advocate Kapil Sibal termed the defamation proceedings as a gag order, being used to "throttle journalism". The Gujarat High Court also ordered to restore the ex parte injunction, barring the website from publishing any further report on Jay and his firm's turnover.

"The question of gagging the media does not come at all". The order, however, restrained the news website from indirectly or directly linking the article with Prime Minister Narendra Modi till the final disposal of the defamation suit filed by Jay Shah.

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During the hearing, the CJI said "you all are responsible counsel of the country and now, anyone can write something and get away with it".

After the suit was filed on October 9, 2017, the Gujarat trial court initiated proceedings against The Wire, its promoters and senior staff under CrPC's section 202 (to inquire into a case to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding).

Those against whom the case was filed are the reporter Rohini Singh, founder editor Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia, M K Venu, Monobina Gupta and Pamela Philipose.

Sibal said journalists vilify politicians and there should not be defamation in each case and added that if the son of a politician (Shah) has been vilified, there was another politician (Chidambaram) whose son is also being vilified.

In his application, Shah prayed for, "criminal action against the respondents for defaming and tarnishing the reputation of the complainant through an article, which is scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libelous and consisting of several defamatory statements".

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