Rajat Sharma Files Defamation Suit Against Congress Leaders Ragini Nayak, Ramesh, Khera

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Veteran journalist Rajat Sharma asserted before the Delhi High Court on Friday that he was defamed by Congress leaders Ragini Nayak, Jairam Ramesh, and Pawan Khera through the use of “abusive language” during his show on the day of the Lok Sabha election results.

Sharma’s counsel requested the court to grant ex-parte relief by ordering the removal of the alleged offensive tweets and videos against him on social media and restraining the political leaders from making further allegations against him.

The lawsuit was heard by a vacation bench of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, who, after hearing arguments on behalf of Sharma, reserved the order on the interim prayer. “Arguments heard. Order in chamber,” stated the judge.

Sharma, who is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Independent News Service Private Limited (INDIA TV), was present during the hearing.

The controversy originated when Nayak accused Sharma of abusing her on national television during a debate on the show on the counting day of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sharma’s counsel pointed out that while the debate aired on the evening of June 4, when the election results were announced, the Congress leaders only began tweeting about it on June 10 and 11.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing Sharma, argued that a clip of the show was being circulated with an inserted abuse, whereas the original footage did not contain any such content. He also played the video clip for the court’s review.

“There is no abuse. Six days after the live show, they tweet that this anchor has used abuse against this lady. They held a press conference on June 11. On June 4, she did not say there was any abuse. She did not hear it on that day,” Singh stated.

“The program is live telecast. They had no grievance until the night of June 10, for six days. Surely defendant nos. 4-6 (Congress leaders) have friends, followers, and family members who would have pointed out if they heard. They got into some design (against Sharma)…,” Singh argued.

Seeking an ex-parte injunction, the lawyer contended that the journalist’s personal reputation was at stake and immediate orders were required in such cases. He requested that the tweets be taken down immediately, as their presence on social media was damaging the journalist’s reputation, built over four decades.

“This was a live show, and millions of people were watching it. If it remains there, people will keep on abusing him. The balance of convenience lies in favor of the plaintiff (Sharma). It should be removed immediately. I (Sharma) am not known for shouting or abusing anyone. I am known for my civilized behavior,” Sharma submitted.

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About the Author: Meera Verma