Defamation Case: Delhi HC Directs AITMC MP Saket Gokhale To Pay Damages To Lakshmi Puri

Monetary Settlements

The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered AITMC MP Saket Gokhale to pay Rs 50 lakh in damages to former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri in her defamation lawsuit against him.

Additionally, Gokhale must issue an apology in the Times of India and on his Twitter account, with the Twitter apology remaining for six months.

What Centers The Defamation Case?

The defamation case centers on Gokhale’s defamatory tweets about Puri’s integrity. The court remarked, “The plaintiff has suffered irreparable harm due to Defendant No. 1, Saket Gokhale’s defamatory statements.” The judgment mandates Gokhale to apologize publicly, with the apology to be published on his Twitter account and in the Times of India, remaining on Twitter for six months.

Furthermore, Gokhale is prohibited from posting any further defamatory content against Puri. The court awarded Rs 50 lakh in damages to Puri for the harm caused to her reputation. Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, delivering the judgment, noted that while monetary compensation cannot fully restore one’s reputation, a balance of considerations led to the decision to award Rs.50 lakhs. Gokhale must pay the amount within eight weeks.

Who Filed The Civil Suit?

The civil suit was filed by Karanjawala & Co. on behalf of Lakshmi Puri. Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, former ASG, represented Puri, supported by a team from Karanjawala & Co. including Senior Partner Meghna Mishra and advocates Tarun Sharma, Palak Sharma, and Shreyansh Rathi.

Puri’s petition detailed a series of tweets from June 13 and June 23, 2021, in which Gokhale falsely alleged that Puri and her husband had purchased a house in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2006 with black money. Gokhale’s tweets mentioned “Swiss bank accounts” and “foreign black money,” tagging the Union Finance Minister and calling for a money-laundering inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate against Puri and her husband.

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About the Author: Meera Verma