Delhi High Court Moves Gautam Gambhir’s Defamation Case Against Punjab Kesari to Mediation

In a significant development on Monday, the Delhi High Court decided to refer the defamation lawsuit filed by former Indian cricketer and BJP MP, Gautam Gambhir, against the Hindi daily Punjab Kesari, to mediation. The lawsuit, which demands Rs 2 crore in damages, aims to halt the newspaper and its journalists from disseminating any potentially defamatory content about Gambhir.

The decision for mediation came after Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma considered the submissions by Gambhir’s advocate, Jai Anant Dehadrai, who proposed an amicable resolution to the dispute. This suggestion was met with a positive response from both parties, indicating their willingness to settle the matter out of court.

Gambhir had previously submitted a new application requesting the withdrawal of the lawsuit, citing the potential for a friendly settlement. The court has now scheduled the mediation for February 29, with a subsequent hearing on March 12 to review the progress.

This move follows last year’s decision by the court not to issue an interim injunction in favor of Gambhir. During the proceedings, Dehadrai argued that Punjab Kesari had been targeting Gambhir unfairly, alleging malicious intent behind their articles. He pointed out that, contrary to journalistic standards, the newspaper did not seek Gambhir’s comments before publishing the contentious articles.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, in a previous hearing, had advised Dehadrai, remarking on the need for public figures to maintain a level of resilience against criticism. Despite this, the court recognized the need for further examination of the case, leading to the issuance of a notice to the defendants based on Gambhir’s application for interim relief.

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Gambhir’s legal action targets the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Aditya Chopra, and correspondents Amit Kumar and Imran Khan. He accuses them of exploiting their journalistic privileges to launch a series of slanderous articles aimed at discrediting him. The lawsuit highlights several reports that, according to Gambhir, misrepresent facts and malign his reputation as a lawmaker.

One particularly controversial report compared Gambhir to the mythical demon ‘Bhasmasur’, portraying him in a highly negative light. The lawsuit contends that these articles have been part of a deliberate campaign to undermine Gambhir’s credibility with his constituents and the public.

Gambhir’s demands include a Rs 2 crore compensation to be donated to charitable organizations and a public apology from the defendants, to be published across all Punjab Kesari platforms. He also seeks a retraction of all defamatory articles published against him.

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