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Delhi HC reserves verdict on BJP leader, Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia's defamation suit over YouTube, X content

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Delhi HC reserves verdict on BJP leader, Senior Advocate Gaurav Bhatia's defamation suit over YouTube, X content

New Delhi, April 8 (Ajit Weekly News) The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a defamation plea filed by Senior Advocate and BJP member, Gaurav Bhatia, against multiple social media users and YouTube channels.

The case arises from what Bhatia claims to be defamatory content circulated about him following an assault incident last month during a lawyers’ strike at the Gautam Budha Nagar District & Sessions Court.

Before Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi and advocate Raghav Awasthi appeared for Bhatia, who also addressed the court in person.

The court was informed of the detrimental impact of certain online videos on Bhatia’s reputation. He voiced concerns about the videos’ alleged malicious intent, stressing the need for swift action to mitigate the damage caused.

The court said it will pronounce the order on April 10. Bhatia drew attention to the disrespectful tone and content of the videos, particularly noting instances where anchors appeared to mock his achievements and political affiliations.

He stressed that his standing, earned through hard work and dedication, was unjustly tarnished by the circulated content.

Expressing his distress, Bhatia stressed the urgency of removing the videos, saying that every moment they remain online exacerbates the harm inflicted on his reputation.

He stressed the media’s responsibility to uphold ethical standards and ensure accurate reporting, lamenting the apparent disregard for such principles evident in the videos.

Moreover, Bhatia objected to the unwarranted inclusion of his political affiliations, saying that they were irrelevant to the incident in question.

On his affiliation with the BJP, he argued that the focus should solely be on the content’s veracity rather than political conjecture.

In response, the legal representatives of the YouTube channels and journalists contended that their actions fell within the bounds of freedom of speech, saying that their journalistic endeavours were devoid of any wrongdoing.

Last time, the court had issued summons to the involved parties and noted Bhatia’s request for interim relief, although no immediate ex parte order was granted.

The Supreme Court has already taken suo motu cognisance of the assault.

Bhatia’s petition names individuals and entities including Naveen Kumar of Article 19 India, Neelu Vyas of The News Launcher, Professor Akhil Swami, and YouTube channels such as Rajeev Nigam and BBI News.

X users listed as defendants include Sandeep Singh, Vijay Yadav, Netaflix, among others.

Bhatia demands a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from making what Bhatia describes as “abusive and defamatory statements” against him on digital platforms like YouTube and X.

“That the video in question has amassed approximately 1,142,045 views and over 52,000 likes from the public, signalling significant engagement and the potential for considerable harm to the Plaintiff’s reputation, livelihood, and overall well-being due to the widespread dissemination of defamatory material on a highly popular platform,” petition reads.

“That the present video contains egregious and defamatory allegations against Plaintiff, aiming to tarnish his reputation and integrity in a reprehensible manner. It accuses him of indecent behaviour, physical assault, and dishonourable conduct, employing derogatory language to paint him as a thug and a disgrace,” it further says.

Moreover, the petition calls on Google LLC and X to remove the allegedly defamatory materials from their platforms.

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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