Jay Shah Case: Guj HC Rejects The Wire’s Plea Against Gag Order

An article alleging that Jay Shah’s business grew 16,000-fold since 2014 has triggered a political storm.
An article alleging that Jay Shah’s business grew 16,000-fold since 2014 has triggered a political storm.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Jay Shah Case: Guj HC Rejects The Wire’s Plea Against Gag Order

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday, 28 November, rejected a petition by The Wire challenging a gag order passed by a lower court in a civil defamation case filed by BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah over an article published by the news portal.

Justice Paresh Upadhyay asked the petitioners, including the author of the article Rohini Singh and founding editors of the news portal, to move the trial court to challenge the gag order.

The HC also directed the trial court to decide the matter within 30 days.

Gujarat HC’s Decision on How to Proceed

These appeals arising from an ex-parte ad-interim impugned order of the trial court are not entertained. It would be open to the defendants to file their counter to the suit, or at least to the application for interim injunction before the trial court, if they so choose. The trial court is directed to finally decide the injunction within 30 days from today, after hearing both the sides. 
Gujarat High Court

Also Read : Hearing in The Wire Case Adjourned After Jay Shah Fails to Turn Up

The HC also said that if any of the parties is aggrieved by the final order that may be passed by the trial court on the injunction application, it would be open to him or her to challenge it before an appropriate forum in accordance with law.

The Wire’s Opposition to the Gag Order

The petitioners had sought that the interim order of the trial court be quashed and set aside as it was passed without issuing notices to the defendants, and claimed the facts did not warrant an ex-parte order.

They submitted that the trial court had not considered any of the “parameters like prima facie case, balance of convenience, irreparable loss” before passing the order and hence, it was unsustainable.

Also Read : HC Refuses Stay Order Barring The Wire From Writing About Jay Shah

Jay Shah’s Response to the Appeal

An Ahmedabad court had last month issued an ex-parte injunction against the news portal. This prohibited The Wire from publishing, broadcasting or printing “in any manner” programmes in any language on the basis of the article published by the website about Jay Shah “directly or indirectly” till the defamation suit has been disposed of.

Jay Shah had submitted before the high court that the appeal against the ex-parte interim order was not maintainable and deserves to be dismissed. He also said the applicant has not given any justification for the plea.

Also Read : Court Summons Reporter, ‘The  Wire’ Editors Over Jay Shah Story

The petition was filed challenging the injunction ordered by a civil court on 12 October on the story carried by The Wire titled ‘The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah’. 

The Article and Its Consequences

The article claimed that Jay Shah’s firm’s turnover rose 16,000 times in one year after the NDA came to power. It claimed that when the BJP came to power in 2014, the annual turnover increased from Rs 80,000 to about Rs 80 crore.

It triggered a political firestorm, with the Congress demanding an inquiry into the matter, while the BJP termed it as “slanderous”. 

Also Read : Guj HC Notice to Jay Shah On The Wire’s Plea Challenging Gag Order

Jay Shah also filed a criminal defamation suit against the author of the article Rohini Singh, founding editors of the news portal Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and MK Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism.

In his suit, he termed the article as “scandalous, frivolous, misleading, derogatory, libellous and consisting of several defamatory statements”.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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