Union Minister Smriti Irani and her daughter are neither the owners of the Goa-based Silly Souls Cafe and Bar nor has there ever been any licence issued to either of them, the Delhi High Court noted in its order last week while issuing summons to three Congress leaders in connection with the Rs 2 crore defamation suit filed by the minister.
“Considering the documents on record it is clearly seen that there was no licence which was ever issued in favour of the plaintiff or her daughter. The plaintiff or her daughter are not the owners of the restaurant. It has also been established by the plaintiff prima facie that the plaintiff or her daughter never applied for license,” Justice Mini Pushkarna said in the order released on Monday, reports Live Law.
While issuing summons to Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza last week, the court had directed them to remove all social media posts carrying allegations against Smriti Irani and her daughter in connection with the restaurant located in Goa.
Irani has filed a Rs 2 crore defamation suit against the three Congress leaders over the allegations which she termed as false and baseless.
“Neither the restaurant nor the land on which the restaurant exists is owned by the plaintiff or her daughter even the show cause notice issued by the Government of Goa is not in the name of the plaintiff or her daughter. All these facts have also been affirmed in the affidavit by the plaintiff,” the court further noted.
Stressing that the reputation of an individual has been placed at the highest altar and considered akin to Right to Life of a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the court noted that there was an “imperative need to protect the reputation of an individual”, more so of an individual who is a respected member of society and a member of the Union government. The defamation suit was filed by Irani following a series of allegations by Congress leaders against her and her daughter over their links to the Goa restaurant which they alleged was being run on an illegal license. The allegations were levelled by the Congress leaders at a press conference and in subsequent social media posts.