Judge files defamation Suit of Rs 100 crores against media, internet media, others

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[ June 03, 2017 ] Jammu: In a first of its kind in the J&K State a Suit has been filed by serving Judge claiming recovery of Rs 100 Crores for the defamation caused to him. It may be mentioned that Mr Rajesh Abrol, posted as Sub Judge Chadoora (Budgam) has filed a suit for recovery for damages and defamation in the Court of 2nd Addl District Judge Jammu though Advocates A K Sawhney and Aseem Sawhney with Utkarsh Pathania and Shiv Dev Thakur Advocates. The plaintiff has also sought Rs 100 crores as damages for libel and slander against defendants and decree of permanent prohibitory injunction restraining the defendants from airing, transmitting, publishing on internet, website and social media and also a decree for mandatory injunction.2nd Additional District Judge Pawan Dev Kotwal after perusing the file and CDs/ videos/ matter on internet in the Court and hearing the Adv Aseem Sawhney, issued notice to the defendants and directed the defendants media persons, editors, internet channels and electronic channels to temporarily suspend the alleged defamatory videos and news showing the plaintiff -Judge with some women/ladies from internet/other media. The court has fixed the case for further proceedings on 9.6.2017.Aseem Sawhney Advocate made submissions before the Court and submitted that the plaintiff is a Judge posted in the J&K Judiciary presently posted as Sub Judge Chadoora in Kashmir and plaintiff is a respectable person of the society. He submitted that the plaintiff is having good family background and deep roots in the society, and is filing the present Suit for Damages against the defendants who happen to be her wife, brothers in law, mother in law and other relatives of the defendant no. 1 estranged wife of the plaintiff. Defendants are the print and electric media channels, editors, owners, reporters and persons who have caused obloquy, public disrepute and have tarnished the image and reputation of the plaintiff in front of relatives, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and general public at large by levelling slanderous and libellous false allegations against the plaintiff. Both as a person and as a Judge the plaintiff"s image, position and reputation has been badly tarnished by the defendants.Aseem Sawhney counsel for Judge Abrol submitted that his client got married to defendant no. 1 on 14th July 2009 and the marriage was a simple dowryless marriage. They lived together for about 5-6 months and relations turned sour with the defendant no. 1 also who filed various complaints to the State High Court against the plaintiff which was looked into by the Hon"ble High Court. The plaintiff and defendant no. 1 lived separately from December 2009 till January 2017 i.e. approx. 7 years. During these seven years the plaintiff was blessed with a girl child in April 2010, who was with the defendant no. 1 during the period of separation and the plaintiff had filed a Divorce Petition in 2015 and also a petition for custody of the child which were pending before the Addl. Distt Judge (Matrimonial Cases) Jammu. Adv Aseem Sawhney submitted that in January 2017, the parties with mediation efforts decided to reconcile and bury the hatchet and give another chance to the marriage for the sake of the child and the future. On 20th January 2017 the defendant no. 1 joined the matrimony with the plaintiff and relationship blossomed and even the marriage was consummated on bed and board and also submitted that the defendants being from media have violated the ethics of journalism with impunity and as per the Press Council of India Rules and ethics it is incumbent to take the version of both the sides before airing any jaundiced version. He submitted that the defamatory video is still available on the social media -internet, the official pages on facebook, watsapp and websites of the defendant newspapers/ media.These imputations are false and aim only to cause disrepute to the plaintiff and these imputations tend to disparage and degrade the plaintiff. In the estimation of other people the reputation of the plaintiff has suffered a great set back and stigma has been inflicted upon the reputation and character of the plaintiff.