The Delhi High Court had directed news website meaww.com to take down and block its defamatory articles against the owner of NFL’s Washington Football Team, Daniel Snyder (Daniel Snyder vs Eleven Internet Services LLP & Ors).
Snyder’s grievance proceeded towards the publication of certain “defamatory and malicious” articles. These leveled to the extent that he was facing allegations of sex trafficking. The American businessman preferred the suit against meaww.com for damages of Rs 75 crore. It also stated that he had associated with sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan with Advocates Simranjeet Singh, Partner at Athena Legal; Aadhar Nautiyal, Associate at Athena Legal and Advocate Sanjeevi Seshadri represented Daniel Snyder.
Senior Advocate SD Sanjay with Advocate Akshay Amritanshu appeared for the defendants.
Snyder contended that the articles were false, frivolous, and baseless. They were free in the public domain and could cause serious harm to his reputation. It would lower the image of the plaintiff in the eyes of the public. Learned counsel for the plaintiff addressed an e-mail to learned counsel for the defendants on 22nd July 2020. This was directing them to take down the impugned URL’s/weblinks from their platform.
According to the plaintiff, the defendant hasn’t compiled with the said request. The basic subscription details of the person/persons who were uploading the posts were not provided to the plaintiff too. The plaintiff stated that the posts were still available upon a basic search on Bing.com as well as on the website of defendant No.2. The plaintiff requested the court to pass an order of ad-interim injunction. This was to remove these defamatory articles from all media platforms and websites.
While the website said the alleged defamatory articles were taken down, Snyder denied the truth. The relief sought by the plaintiff was similar to anticipated actions. So, no relief of this sort as an ad hoc remedy may be given, the defendant argued.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta had been setup. The Court opined that the plaintiff had made out a prima facie case against the defendants (the website, its directors, and journalists). It further stated that if no ad interim injunction was granted, the plaintiff would suffer an irreparable loss. The balance of convenience was also in favor of the plaintiff.
The Court issued an ad-interim order. It passed a direction to the website to take down, remove and/or block/restrict the allegedly defamatory articles. The website had also got an order to not report any news on the same or similar subject matters. The Court had also directed the website to disclose the basic subscription information. This was about the person/persons who had uploaded the allegedly defamatory articles on its platform. The order would remain in force till the next date of hearing i.e. November 2.
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