The Delhi High Court has directed the removal of articles/videos containing allegedly defamatory content against Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd and its related businesses. (Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd vs International Media Corporation & Ors)
The ex parte order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri who opined that if an injunction were not granted, Srei Infra would suffer an irreparable loss.
Srei Infrastructure (plaintiff) approached the Court after discovering that the website of International Media Corporation published certain “false, unverified, malicious and highly defamatory content” about it and its business concerns.
The allegedly defamatory content was thereafter also uploaded on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter.
These defamatory videos/article used defamatory words and derogatory remarks as well as pictures of fugitives like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallaya, claiming falsely that sixteen thousand crore scams had been commissioned by Seri Infrastructure promoters i.e. the Kanoria Family amongst several other companies.
The plaintiff submits that on enquiry, it was learnt that the existence of International Media Corporation and its website was highly suspected since neither the address nor the phone number appeared to be genuine.
It was thus submitted that the content appeared to have been uploaded only to tarnish the image of the plaintiff.
To substantiate its stand, the plaintiff also produced a press statements issued by Axis Bank, stating that report was “grossly inaccurate and baseless” insofar as the plaintiff’s dealings with it was concerned.
It was added that not only a ‘cease and desist’ notice had been issued by the plaintiff but complaints with the Police had been filed.
Opining that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case and that the balance of convenience lied in favour of plaintiff and against the defendants, the Court ordered,
“..the defendants (which included social media platform) are directed to forthwith take down/remove/block/restrict access to all the abovesaid 19 URLs/weblinks mentioned at Page No.72 of the list of documents. A copy of the above 19 URLs/weblinks shall be separately supplied to the learned counsels who have put an appearance for the defendants.”
The Court further directed that if any further weblinks containing the impugned defamatory surfaces, the plaintiff shall be at liberty to approach the platforms and Court for removal/blocking access to such URLs/websites.
The Court also issued summons in the suit preferred against the defamatory content and listed it for further proceedings on March 16.
Senior Advocate Darpan Wadhwa with Advocates Arjun Syal, Manjira Dasgupta, Shreyan Das, Akshita Sachdeva appeared for the plaintiff.
Google was represented by Advocates Neel Mason, Sanyukta Banerjee and Aditi Umapathy, Akhil Anand.
Advocate Abhishek Singh appeared for LinkedIn.