The Bangalore City Civil Court on Saturday March 30, passed an interim injunction against forty media houses and social media platforms from publishing defamatory and derogatory remarks against Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore South candidate Tejasvi Surya.
This is perhaps for the first time in Karnataka that a candidate standing for elections approached court for a gag order on media.
Over forty media outlets in India and five global digital media companies have been temporarily prohibited from publishing ‘defamatory and derogatory’ content about BJP candidate Tejasvi Surya, who is contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Bengaluru South constituency. T
ejasvi Surya had filed a defamation suit in the civil court after several publications carried news stories reporting allegations of abuse against him.
The articles were prompted by an exchange on Twitter between columnist Shefali Vaidya and one Dr. Som Dutta, who alleged that Surya was a “womaniser, abuser and woman beater”. Dr. Dutta has since deleted the tweets and deactivated her Twitter handle.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, XIX City Civil and Sessions Judge Dinesh Hegde granted an interim injunction in favour of Surya.
“How all of a sudden these allegations against the plaintiff emerged immediately after he filed nomination for General Elections is a questionable question,” the court said, adding that though defendants have freedom of speech and expression that cannot violate the human dignity of life of any citizen.
The BJP recently fielded Surya as its candidate to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Bangalore South constituency. In this background, the plaint filed by Surya states that certain people who are “jealous of his growing popularity” are trying to tarnish his image ahead of the elections.
The matter will be next heard on May 27.
Meanwhile, Surya’s lawyers have sent a notice to the publications – including Times of India, Indian Express, Deccan Herald, and The Hindu, as well as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google – urging them to comply with the Court’s order.