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Supreme Court Sets Aside Order Directing Bloomberg To Remove Article On Zee Entertainment Ltd

Supreme Court Sets Aside Order Directing Bloomberg To Remove Article On Zee Entertainment Ltd

The Supreme Court on Friday (March 22) set aside the Delhi High Court’s order directing news platform “The Bloomberg” to take down its allegedly defamatory article on Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra observed that the orders of the trial courts in granting ex parte ad interim injunction have not sufficiently applied the 3 fold test of granting temporary injunction. The court stressed the need for the application of judicial mind not just by reading the principles of law but also by ensuring that they fit in line with the practicalities and facts of the case in question.

“The High Court ought to have in our view also at least prima facie assessed whether the three-fold test for the grant of an injunction was duly established after an evaluation of facts. The same error which has been committed by the learned Trial Judge has been perpetuated by the single judge of the High Court. Mainly recording that a prima facie case exists , that the balance of convenience is in favour of grant of injunction for the respondent and that irreparable injury would be caused does not amount to an application of mind to the facts of the case. The threefold test cannot be recorded as a mantra without looking into the facts on the basis of which the injunction is sought… we have no option but to set aside both orders of the Learned Trial Judge dated March 1, 2024 and of the Single Judge of the High Court dated March 14, 2024.”

The single judge bench of Delhi High Court on March 14 upheld the trial court order and granted three days time to “The Bloomberg” to comply with the directions of the Additional District Judge.The plea was filed against an order passed by Additional District Judge Harjyot Singh Bhalla of Saket Courts on March 01.

Zee Entertainment has initiated a legal case for defamation against the online news division of Bloomberg Television Production Services India Private Limited. This includes the authors and researchers involved in the contentious report.

On February 21, Bloomberg published a piece under the title “India Regulator Discovers $ 241 Million Accounting Discrepancy at Zee”.

The CJI noted that the reasoning of the Trial Court given in Paragraph 9 of its order which has been subsequently relied upon by the High Court has not adequately dealt with the factual merits of the present case. Paragraph 9 of the Order reads as follows :

9. In my view, the plaintiff has made out a prima facie case for passing ad interim ex-parte orders of injunction, balance of convenience is also in favor of plaintiff and against the defendant and irreparable loss and injury may be caused to the plaintiff, if the injunction as prayed for is not granted. In view thereof, defendant no.1 and defendant no.2 are directed to take down the article dated 21.02.2024 (page 84 to 86 of the plaintiff ‟s document)from online platform within one week of receipt of this order. The defendants are further restrained from posting, circulating or publishing the aforesaid article in respect of the plaintiff on any online or offline platform till the next date of hearing
The bench further clarified that the Respondents were at liberty to file fresh injunction applications before the Trial Judge before whom the main proceedings of the dispute are pending. The Court added that it would be necessary for the Trial Judge to follow the order of the bench in passing fresh orders with regard to any injunctions sought. The Petitioners were represented by Senior Advocates Mr Mukul Rohatgi , Niraj Kishen Kaul and Menaka Guruswamy .They were briefed by Kochhar & Co., through its litigation team comprising of Mr. Rohit Kochhar, Chairman and Managing Partner, Mr. Shiv Sapra (Partner), Mr. Samiron Borkataky (Partner), Mr. Rajat Gava (Principal Associate), Mr. Ikshvaaku Marwah (Associate), Ms. Sanskriti Shrimali (Associate) and Mr. Vishal Singh (Associate). The respondents were represented by Advocates Mahesh Agarwal and Vijay Kumar Agarwal

The main proceedings before the Trial Court will resume on March 26.

Case Details : BLOOMBERG TELEVISION PRODUCTION SERVICES INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED vs. ZEE ENTERTAINMENT ENTERPRISES LIMITED SLP(C) No. 006696 – / 2024 (Live Law)

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