15 March 2018

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SC asks Gujarat Court not to proceed with Criminal Defamation case against the wire

SC asks Gujarat Court not to proceed with Criminal Defamation case against the wire
Jay Shah, Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah’s son, had filed the criminal defamation case against The Wire in October 2017 after it published a story alleging that the revenues of his company grew massively

The Supreme Court bench on Thursday directed the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate not to proceed with the criminal defamation proceedings against The Wire and its journalists.

The Bench also issued notice on the SLP preferred by The Wire Journalist Rohini Singh and Founder Editors of the Wire against the January 8 judgment of the Gujarat High Court refusing to quash the defamation proceedings

Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court of India was filed against the judgment and order of the Gujarat High Court at Ahmedabad dated 8-1-2018 in special criminal application [quashing] No. 8885 of 2017 dismissing the application under section 482 of the Cr.PC and declining to quash the summoning order dated 24 October 2017 under section 500 of the IPC read with sections 34 and 109 of the Indian Penal code.
The wire news portal published allegedly defamatory article.
The summoning order pertains to a wholly factual article The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah based entirely on public record and the respondent no. 2 written responses to the queries sent before the publication of the article. The article reproduced facts and figures as obtained through mandatory filings with the ROC by companies/ventures in which respondent no.2 is a shareholder and director as confirmed by the Respondent himself through his lawyer’s letters which too was published in full as well as substantially reproduced in the article itself. The article merely reports what is known through the public record and the same is admitted by the Respondent No. 2 that there is a clear increase in the company’s turnover from Rs. 50000 in 2014-15 to Rs. 80 Crore in 2015-16. The company’s net worth eroded in October 2016. Thereupon another venture Sattva Trade Links was started between Respondent No. 2 and a lender to Temple Enterprises to the tune of 15 Crores which too shut down due to adverse market conditions as per Respondent No.2 version send by his lawyer. Another venture as LLP
Sattva Trade Links was started between Respondent No. 2 and Rajesh Khandwala whose firm KIFSLENDER to Temple Enterprises to the tune of 15 Crores in the same year, which too was dissolved due to adverse market conditions as per the Respondent No. 2.
In July 2015 another venture, an LLP Kusum Finance was set up with Respondent No. 2 owned a 60% share. Kusum Finserve secured credit facilities worth 25 Crores from Kalupur cooperative bank against a collateral of 7 Crores. This LLP without any prior history in the power sector managed to secure another loan of over 10 crores from IREDA, a public sector company for investment in the power sector. The truth of the article averments is self-evident and are indeed admitted by the Respondent. The article purport is summed up thus – BJP president Amit Shahs son, jay shah has seen a dramatic increase in some of his business since Narendra Modi became prime minister. There is thus a straight forward narration of events neither asserting honestly nor his honestly but holding the sequence of events out for public scrutiny.
This is not imputation within the meaning of section 499 of IPC to warrant even issue of summons. Yet the High Court has declined to quash the summoning order observing that the article tries to portray these facts.  The impugned order of the High court is bad in law as it render nugatory the caution expressed by this Hon’ble court in Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India [2016] 7 SCC 221 regarding issue of process in cases of defamation, the court though in different context, has observed that there lies responsibility and duty on the Magistracy first be satisfied that the law casts liability or creates offence against the persons impleaded and only thereafter should process be issued.

Next date of the case is April 12, 2018

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Tags – Jay Shah Wire Defamation Case