Delhi High Court restrains Twitter handle 'TRACTOR 2 TWITER' from publishing defamatory material against Aaj Tak

The Delhi High Court on Monday passed an order directing the removal of certain defamatory content published against Aaj Tak from social media.

The Delhi High Court on Monday passed an order directing the removal of certain defamatory social media content published by Twitter account ‘TRACTOR 2 TWITER’ against Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak in relation to its reportage on the Farmers Protest (TV Today Network vs TRACTOR 2 TWITTER & ors).

The Court also restrained ‘TRACTOR 2 TWITER’, its founder and co-founder from publishing any further defamatory posts against the news channel on Facebook, Telegram and Twitter.

In its interim order, Justice Rekha Palli granted three days time for removal of the content, failing which the social media companies would have to do so themselves.

That defendants are directed to forthwith remove any derogatory tweets within 3 days time, especially those referred to in the plaint. If they fail to do so, then Twitter (respondent number 5) must remove the said content. The social media websites should also disclose the details of the concerned handles with Aajtak through a password protected file within 5 days,” the Court ordered.
Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah, arguing on behalf of the Hindi news channel, submitted that three independent handles had jointly unleashed a malicious campaign against Aaj Tak, with a view to defame it.

“On May 30, 2021, seven posters were published with the defamatory graphic on Telegram. In these posters, Aajtak was referred to as ‘anti-farmer.’ Further defamatory hashtags were tweeted and retweeted from time to time in derogatory and disparaging language.

The plaintiff’s case is that all of these allegations were baseless and highly defamatory in nature and thus these handles must be restrained from tweeting these hashtags or retweeting these tweets.”

The Court directed that the plaint be registered as a suit and issued summons. Notice was also issued to Defendants- Twitter, Facebook and Telegram which are intermediaries under the IT Rules, 2021, as well as the digital service provider.