AAP MP Sanjay Singh fined Rs 1 lakh by UP court in defamation case

Lucknow, Jan 3 (UNI) In a setback to Rajya Sabha MP of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sanjay Singh, a local court here has imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on him in a defamation case filed by senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former minister Dr Mahendra Kumar Singh.

The order was passed by the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Kamal Kant Gupta on the defamation suit filed by former Jal Shakti Minister Dr Mahendra Singh almost two years ago for making alleged malicious and false accusations of corruption against him.

The court also directed Singh to remove video footage and social media posts wherein he had used defamatory language against Mahendra Singh.

The court in its order said that from the evidence it can be deduced that the defendant (Sanjay Singh) made defamatory statements against the plaintiff (Mahendra Singh). “The same have been found false in police investigation. There was no rational basis to level such charges against the plaintiff, The Indian, Constitution ensures freedom of speech to every citizen, but it also imposes reasonable restrictions on the use of this right,” it observed.

It said that in the present case, the defendant could have with due diligence gathered that the communication by BJP MLA could not pertain to any act of the plaintiff. “Though malicious intent cannot be ruled out, the defendant certainly acted with haste and negligence when he made categorical remarks naming a person,” it said.

The court stated that since remarks were not only levelled against the government in general, but were specific to the plaintiff, it was the duty of the defendant to exercise due care and caution, ascertain the truth of the matter and at least use parliamentary language till then.

“However, the defendant levelled corruption charges, called out names and did so repeatedly over the social media platform. In view of this court, an unsubstantiated false charge for corruption is defamatory enough for filing a civil action,” it said.

It said that in the present case the statements were categorically defamatory. “The evidence of prosecution witnesses shows how the same had lowered the esteem of the plaintiff in their eyes, though the same was later restored the evidence on record stands unrebutted. There is nothing on record to disbelieve the same,” it said.

It observed, “Thus, the defendant has defamed the plaintiff. The plaintiff is certainly entitled for removal of defamatory content over social media platforms by the defendant. As far as compensation is concerned, it is difficult to value the respect of a person and loss caused due to defamatory remarks. Having regard to the status of parties, their area of work and in the facts of the case Rs 1 lakh compensation would be just and reasonable.”

The court ordered, “The plaintiff’s suit is decreed with costs. The defendant is directed to remove video footage and social media posts wherein he has used defamatory language against the plaintiff. The defendant is further directed to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the plaintiff within two months.

If the defendant fails to pay the same, the plaintiff shall be entitled to 6 percent per annum. interest from the date of this judgement to the actual date of payment.”

It may be noted that AAP MP Singh, who is also in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, is currently lodged in the jail in connection with alleged Delhi liquor policy scam.

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