Smriti Irani and Daughter are Not the Owners Of Goa Restaurant, Bar: Delhi HC

Smriti Irani

The Delhi High Court has observed that there was no license ever issued in favour of Union Minister Smriti Irani or her daughter in connection with a restaurant named Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, located in Goa.

Justice Mini Pushkarna made the observation while issuing summons to Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D'Souza in civil defamation suit seeking damages of Rs. 2 crores filed by Irani for making allegations against her and her daughter regarding the said restaurant.

The Court had last week directed the Congress leaders to delete the said allegations made by them during a press conference, from all social media platforms.

In the order released on Monday, the Court observed thus:

"Considering the documents on record it is clearly seen that there was no license 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."
"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 affidavit by the plaintiff."
Perusing the material on record, the Court was of the view that reputation of an individual has been placed at the highest altar and has been considered as akin to Right to Life of a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

"Thus,there is imperative need to protect reputation of an individual, least to say, that of the plaintiff who is a respected member of the society and esteemed member of the Union Ministry," the Court said.

The Court was also of the view that Irani had made out prima facie case and balance of convenience was in her favour and against the defendant leaders for grant of interim relief.

"I am satisfied that if the defamatory allegations and contents linked to it, is allowed to remain on the internet and social media platforms, then the extent of damage to the plaintiff could be of immense magnitude and injurious to the reputation of the plaintiff and her family," the Court said.

The subject matter of the suit pertains to various allegations made by Congress leaders in a press conference and other series of allegations against Irani and her daughter regarding a statutory license in respect of food and beverages operations at a restaurant named 5 Souls Cafe and Bar, located in Goa.

Therefore, the suit has been filed seeking mandatory and permanent injunction against the Congress leaders, to take down and delete various false and defamatory allegations against Irani and also from levelling false allegations against her.

The suit sought an ax-parte interim temporary injunction directing social media platforms, Twitter, Youtube and Meta, to take down or remove the allegations against Irani, video of Press Conference and the content linked to the same.

It also sought directions on social media plato for to take down or remove the videos, posts, tweets and re-tweets alongwith morphed pictures of Irani and her daughter.