Delhi HC refuses to quash summons issued to Kejriwal in YoutTube video defamation case | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC refuses to quash summons issued to Kejriwal in YoutTube video defamation case

Feb 05, 2024 04:32 PM IST

The court observed that the aggrieved person would be much larger if a public figure, with millions of followers, retweets any defamatory content

The ramifications are far more than a whisper when a public figure tweets or retweets, the Delhi high court said on Monday as it refused to quash summons issued to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a defamation suit filed against him for reposting an allegedly defamatory video by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI Photo)

The court noted that retweeting defamatory content amounts to defamation and observed that the aggrieved person would be much larger if a public figure, with millions of followers, retweets any defamatory content.

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“When a public figure with a political standing tweets or retweets defamatory posts, the repercussions escalate given the broader implications on society. The audience therefore becomes a citizenry at large whose opinion may be influenced by the information they consume, including the defamatory statement published on social media,” a bench of justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said.

The judge added, “When millions of people follow a particular person, including the petitioner herein, on social media platforms such as Twitter, anything which is posted by the petitioner on his account is for the public who follow him.”

Kejriwal had approached the high court challenging the summons issued to him in 2019 by the magistrate as well as sessions judge, who had rejected his revision against the trial court’s order, in the defamation case filed by Vikas Sanskrityanan, founder of social media page ‘I Support Narendra Modi’. The CM had also sought for the quashing of the defamation case filed by Sanskrityanan.

Sanskrityanan alleged in his complaint that the AAP leader had re-tweeted a defamatory video titled ‘BJP IT Cell Part II’, which was circulated by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, who lives abroad.

The CM, Sanskrityanan alleged, retweeted the video, wherein a number of false and defamatory allegations were made against the latter, from his X (formerly known as Twitter) account without checking its authenticity.

Sanskrityanan further stated that the CM is followed by millions of people, because of which the video reached a large number of people not only in India but also globally.

In December 2019, the high court stayed the proceedings against Kejriwal after noting that the YouTuber who posted the original tweet was not an accused in the complaint.

Kejriwal appearing through senior advocate Vikas Pahwa had earlier submitted that there were 11,114 people on the date of filing the complaint who had either commented, retweeted or liked Dhruv Rathee’s tweet, but Sanskrityanan had only chosen to file the complaint against the CM for vested reasons.

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