Stop giving absurd solutions: HC to Nirmal Baba
Asking self-styled godman Nirmal Baba to stop giving "absurd" or "illogical" solutions to his disciples, the Delhi High Court today restrained a vernacular media portal from writing or publishing any defamatory material against him.
In a 22-page judgement, Justice Kailash Gambhir came down heavily on the Baba, who had sought a direction to stop Hindi portal bhadas4media from posting alleged defamatory articles, for suggesting "highly irrational" and "weird" solutions to disciples like "to eat rabri' and 'masala dosa to overcome their miseries" and said they are bound to result in backlash by the media and other such agencies.
The court, while granting conditional injunction against the web site, said filing of defamation suit is a right of Baba and "but the same cannot be allowed to become a lethal weapon in sabotaging the freedom of the press."
"It is a fit case for the grant of a conditional injunction.
"The defendants (website and Yashwant Singh) are restrained from licensing, writing, publishing, hosting or advertising any defamatory material against the plaintiff (Baba) on their website or through any other print/electronic media to defame the reputation of the plaintiff.
"Subject to the condition that the plaintiff (Baba) also restrains himself in future from giving any kind of absurd or illogical solutions to his disciples and others, and, confines his discourses to all such kind of teachings through which the life of common man can improve and improve in the right direction," the court said
The court said, "The plaintiff (Baba) advising his disciples in the Samagams and through media, millions of people watching television, to open black purse at the time of showering of his blessings then the same will result in inflow of money to them.
"...Likewise to tell people to eat rabri, masala dosa or paani poori to overcome their miseries, are the kind of solutions which are highly irrational, weird and unacceptable to commonsensical notions, bound to result in backlash by the media and other such agencies...."
The court order came on the plea of Nirmaljit Singh Narula alias Nirmal Baba, who has been in media glare, seeking a direction to stop the Hindi portal from carrying alleged defamatory articles on its site.
"The print and the electronic media being the eyes and ears of the citizens, its freedom cannot be unreasonably trampled upon by resorting to legal processes and unreasonably dragging them to face defamation and contempt cases as it will lead to sounding a death knell for democracy.
"But at the same time, the press and the media cannot denigrate others with a targeted campaign without any basis and proper verification," the court said.
The court, however, said that media has been doing its role as watch-dog in the society.
"One cannot lose sight of the fact that all these public personalities whether in political, social or spiritual field are always under the public gaze and if such people commit any unduly act or indulge into any nefarious or illegal activity or do not maintain self restrain in their public utterances or commit any act demeaning their position and status then later on they cannot complain that they stand defamed...."
Seeking an order to the website, the godman had alleged that around 80 defamatory articles have been posted on the website.
"Around 30 TV channels show programmes of Nirmal Baba who has also got 3.70 lakh followers on social networking site Facebook and such write ups have defamed him," it said.