‘Supervising editorial content is dangerous’

After her businessman husband Raj Kundra was arrested for alleged creation and distribution of pornographic content, the actress filed a suit against 29 media personnel and media houses accusing them of ‘false reporting and maligning her image’.

However, Justice GS Patel, who was hearing the case, seemed to have more questions for the actress and her lawyer team than giving in to their wishes.
“How is this defamatory? You are saying if you cannot say anything nice about Shilpa Shetty, do not say anything at all,” Justice Patel pointed out to Shilpa Shetty’s lawyers Advocates Birendra Saraf and Abhinav Chandrachud. “It is underwhelming. Your prayer for supervising editorial content is dangerous. You are seeking compensation from everyone and John Doe. How is that going to work?”

Incidentally, Shilpa had already served a notice to the websites and channels and an unknown person. Some of them had even taken down the content before the court hearing. However, the plea also asked for interim injunctions against the defendants.

Noting that some of the defendants had taken the content down and would not upload more again, Justice Patel also observed that reporting on police sources or reporting that Shilpa cried did not tantamount to defamation. “A reportage on what the police source has said is by definition never defamatory!! By law it is not!” he said.

Finally, the lawyers argued over the privacy part, of keeping what happened between the wife and the husband private. To that, the judge said, “That part is protected by her right of privacy under the wide protection recognized by the freedom of press to be balanced with the right of privacy. It is possible that freedom of speech may have to be narrowly tailored. But it is not possible to ignore the constitutional pinning of privacy nor to say that if a person is a public figure, that person is deemed to have sacrificed his right to privacy.”


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