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HD Deve Gowda & HD Kumaraswamy Obtain Restraining Order Against Allegedly False Media Reports in Bengaluru Court

In relation to the Prajwal Revanna alleged sexual assault case, a city civil and sessions court in Bengaluru has issued an ex-parte interim order prohibiting the media from releasing deceptive news articles about former Indian Prime Minister HD Devegowda and former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

The order passed on May 4 restrains 89 media outlets. The court said “At this stage, based upon the material placed and having regard to the aforesaid discussion, the court holds that, only to some extent, the plaintiffs have made out prima facie case. If, without any substantive and truthful material, the articles are published depicting the plaintiff unnecessarily either by showing the photographs, videographs, by way of marping, except with regard to their statements given to the medias, the

It added, “It is ordered that, the defendants are temporarily restrained from publishing any news item by falsely depicting the plaintiffs, by showing their marping photos, without any substantive evidence against them, with an intention to unnecessarily tarnishing their image and reputation in the public at large, till next date of hearing.”

It did, however, make clear that the defendants were not completely prohibited from disseminating or airing any news provided they believed that the truth served as their defence and that they had strong supporting evidence.

According to reports, Prajwal Revanna’s grandfather and uncle, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction, claimed that by carrying out their civic duties, they have built a solid reputation.

It was argued that the State Government had formed the SIT based on some claims of pornographic recordings purportedly featuring Prajwal Revanna, the current MP for the Hassan Constituency. The defendants are posting several news stories and pieces on social media sites that show the plaintiffs and mention the aforementioned purported problem with Prajwal Revanna.

In the case of SLP (C) 6696 / 2024 (Bloomberg Television Production Services India Private Limited & Ors. Vs. Zed Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.,) dated 22/3/2024, the court cited the ruling of the Apex court.

Then it said “It is noticed that, even though there are serious allegations have been made against Mr. Prajwal Revanna, in the absence of making specific allegations to connect these plaintiffs to the alleged incidents, it is not correct on the part of media to show the marped faces of the plaintiffs 1 and 2, either in articles or in news channels.”

It was noted that the media could not be stopped from publishing any articles if they believed they had enough material to warrant publication and that the truth acted as their defence.

It was clarified, although, that before releasing any films, images, or information, they have an obligation to verify its veracity. For it is certain that the dissemination of erroneous and fraudulent information through news outlets, including social media, will damage the standing of any public official.

The public servant is likewise entitled to the defence of his human rights, decency, and dignity. However, the court also stated that a public servant should behave in a way that respects both the reputation of the society at large and the positions they hold.

Allowing the application for temporary injunction the court said “In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that there are no allegations made against them in the alleged videos and in the complaints. But, their pictures are being shown by marping and in other manner. Of course, they cannot prevent the media from showing them as close relatives of Mr. Prajwal Revanna, because it is a fact. But, they can only make requests to restrain the defendants from unnecessarily depicting and making their eferences, by showing their marped photos and in any other ugly manner.”

It added “Having regard to the sensitivity of the matter involved and the fact with regard to their relationship with Mr.Prajwal Revanna, keeping in mind the Judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court, I am of the opinion that, the right of defendants from publishing articles under the right of defence, cannot be fully restricted. However, to the extent of showing the fake and fabricated news items against these plaintiffs, without any admissible and substantive material, can be prevented by granting TI order for a limited period.”

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