There is no evidence that Smriti Irani's family owns Goa Bar
- Tuesday, 02 Aug, 2022
Smriti Irani and her daughter are not the proprietors of the controversial Goa restaurant-cum-bar, according to the Delhi high court, and no license was ever given in their favour.
The court also ruled that claims made against them by three Congress politicians seem to be "bogus with malicious purpose."
When Justice Mini Pushkarna summoned Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera, and Netta D'Souza, LiveLaw reported that she made these statements.
Irani and her family members were not even mentioned in the state's show-cause notice, the high court said.
The court also claimed that the three Congress leaders, among others, plotted to "launch a barrage of false, caustic and aggressive personal assaults" against them.
Allegations have been made by the Congress that a top BJP woman and her daughter have ties to the Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, an exclusive restaurant in New Delhi.
"The nature of slander and appear to be fabricated with malicious purpose," the high court stated of the three Congress leaders' utterances, to deliberately expose Irani to "huge public ridicule" and "to harm Irani's moral character and public image."
The summonses sent to Congress leaders on July 29 were made public on the court's website on Monday after the order was posted.
In addition, the court ordered them to remove tweets and other social media postings about charges made against the union minister and her daughter to be taken down.
In particular, I've seen the show cause notice dated July 21, 2022, issued by the Government of Goa's Office of Commissioner of Excise and addressed to one Anthony Dgama rather than the plaintiff (Irani) or any of her family members.
No license was given to the plaintiff or her daughter, as shown by the papers on file, according to the trial judge.
The eatery does not belong to either the plaintiff or her daughter. In addition, the plaintiff has proven prima facie that neither she nor her daughter ever sought for a driver's permit.
In fact, neither the plaintiff nor her daughter own the restaurant or the property on which it is located.
As far as we can tell, neither plaintiff nor her daughter appear on any of the notices issued by the Government of Goa.
Justice Pushkarna said in her 14-page judgment that "all these facts have also been confirmed in the affidavit of the plaintiff."
For levelling unsubstantiated and fraudulent claims against her and her 18-year-old daughter, Irani has sued Congress leaders for defamation.
The high court ruled that because of the importance of the plaintiff's position as a minister in the Indian government and the nature of her public office, any material about her that is in the public domain is subject to intense examination.
The complainant, a respected member of society and a regarded member of the Union cabinet, was cited as an example of a person whose reputation must be protected.
Plaintiff and her daughter were singled out as targets of a coordinated campaign of "false, vicious, and belligerent personal attacks by defendants nos.
1 to 3 (Congress leaders) with a common motive to malign, defame, and injure the reputation of the plaintiff and her daughter," the lawsuit alleged.
"The nature of defamation and seeming fake with malicious purpose, simply to attract the largest number of audience" were cited as reasons why Congress leaders' remarks should be dismissed as "deliberately exposing the plaintiff to a huge public scorn."
Irani has put out a prima facie case and the balance of convenience is in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants, according to a statement delivered by a judge.
As part of a preliminary injunction, the court had ordered Congress leaders to take down any tweets, retweets, posts, videos, and photos about the allegations against Irani and her daughter from social media within 24 hours, saying that if they didn't comply, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube would take the material down.
Following accusations that her daughter Zoish Irani was running an illegal bar in Goa, Irani resigned as a minister in India's Cabinet and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi fire her as well.
“Based on what I've seen in the record and in the press conference, I'm inclined to believe the plaintiff has been falsely accused of slander and libel without any basis in fact." The defendants' press conference has resulted in significant harm to the plaintiff and her family's reputation, the court said, as shown by the many tweets and retweets that followed.
Further, "I deem it expedient to pass an ad interim injunction directing defendants 1-3 (Congress leaders) to delete and remove the allegations, video of impugned press conference on July 23, 2022, and the contents linked to the same from all social media platforms, namely Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter," said the judge. "
The court and registrar have now set November 15 and August 18 as the dates for future hearings on the subject.