- Apprentice Lawyer
Srinagar court restrains Shehla Rashid's father, media from publishing defamatory, private content against Rashid
The court passed the order on a prima facie opinion that the material published against Shehla Rashid, her mother and sister were violative of their right to privacy and their right to live with dignity and honour.
A Srinagar court granted relief to Shehla Rashid restraining her estranged father as well as media channels from publishing, telecasting or broadcasting matters that are defamatory, intrusive of her right to privacy or her right to live with dignity and honour.
Judge Fayaz Ahmad Qureshi passed the order on a prima facie opinion that the material published against Rashid, her mother and sister were violative of their right to privacy and their right to live with dignity and honour.
The small causes court was dealing with a suit by Shehla Rashid, her mother Zubeida Akhter and sister Asma Rashid (plaintiffs).
The injunction order was passed against Shehla Rashid's father, Abdul Rashid Shora and certain media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google (defendants).
The court directed defendants to refrain from causing any interference in Shehla Rashid's life and from publishing any material which has the potential to cause harassment, agony and pain to Rashid or which is defamatory in nature.
The court also ordered media outlets and social media entities from publishing, telecasting, or broadcasting matters concerning the private matrimonial dispute between Shehla Rashid's parents. Towards this end, they have been directed to suspend the online links containing such content which is defamatory, intrudes on the plaintiff's right to privacy or which is defamatory.
"The media is also under a legal duty to ascertain the truth and abstain from reporting on a matter which has a potential of infringement of right to privacy or other rights of the plaintiff," the court said.
The three plaintiffs had argued that the Abdul Rashid Shora has made every attempt to defame and lower their reputation by leveling false and frivolous allegations, including branding the plaintiffs as "anti-national elements."
Shora was also noted to have filed an application before the DGP, Jammu & Kashmir alleging that the plaintiffs were a threat to him and that they have the assistance of "armed association." That apart, he approached the press levelling the same allegations against the plaintiffs.
A matrimonial dispute was also being highlighted by Shora through social, electronic and print media, which the plaintiffs contended was directly interfering with their right to privacy.
The court recorded that whereas Shora was earlier restrained from harassing the plaintiffs by a lower court under the Domestic Violence Act, that order was violated by him.
The media outlets were stated to have failed in conducting themselves professionally in so far as they published such defamatory material, the court was told.
The court opined that Abdul Rashi Shora's conduct appeared to be unjustified and without any sound legal basis, opining that he seemed to have approached the press with a view to give hype to private matrimonial issues. The judge was also of the prima facie opinion that Shora had approached the DGP with a view to malign the plaintiffs.
The court added that the media outlets had no legal justification to highlight a private issue between the plaintiffs and Shora, when the matter is being dealt with by a court. The media's acts, therefore, amounts to the perpetuation of a civil wrong and an infringement of the rights of the plaintiffs, the court said.
The court, however, gave liberty to the defendants/non-applicants to approach it for modification, alteration or cancellation of the restraining order by the next date of hearing i.e. December 30, 2020.