The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered AAP and five of its leaders to refrain from posting any defamatory or factually incorrect tweets, re-tweets, hashtags or videos against Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and his family, prompting Mr. Saxena to tweet “Satyamev Jayate” (truth alone triumphs).
The order came on a defamation suit filed by Mr. Saxena against AAP and five of its leaders — Sanjay Singh, Atishi, Durgesh Pathak, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Jasmine Shah — for levelling “false” and “derogatory” allegations against him.
Following the judgment, the BJP tore into AAP, with Leader of the Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri demanding that the AAP leaders apologise to the L-G. In response, AAP issued a statement which read: “We respect the judiciary of our country but under no circumstances can we be deterred from raising matters of corruption against any powerful individual”.
The controversy erupted when AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak, during a Delhi Assembly debate on August 29, accused Mr. Saxena of corruption involving change of demonetised notes in 2016 during his tenure as the head of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). Alleging a ₹1,400-crore scam, AAP had demanded a CBI probe against Mr. Saxena.
Justice Amit Bansal remarked that from a “prima facie” view, the various statements, interviews, press conferences and tweets made by AAP and its leaders were “defamatory”.
“The same has been made in a reckless manner, without any factual verification, in order to tarnish the reputation of the plaintiff,” Justice Bansal remarked.
The High Court noted that there was “nothing on record” to show any acts of corruption to the tune of ₹1,400 crore.
Mr. Bidhuri termed the development “a moral victory” for the L-G.
Responding to the High Court order, AAP said: “We will not hesitate to speak the truth at any cost and will take recourse to all available legal remedies. We expect the L-G to also demand an independent and fair investigation. If he has not done anything wrong, why is he running away from any investigations”.