While hearing actor Shilpa Shetty’s Rs 25 crore defamation suit against media organisations, the Bombay High Court said that the line between freedom of press and right to privacy will have to be balanced. While granting Shetty some relief, the court emphasised that the interim order "shall not be taken as a gag on the media".
The actor had the Bombay High Court seeking an injunction against "incorrect, false, malicious and defamatory" content published in the media in connection with her husband Raj Kundra’s alleged involvement in a porn production and distribution case.
There were 29 defendants in the case, including NDTV, Free Press Journal, Facebook, and Instagram. Interim relief was granted against Capital TV, a channel based in Uttar Pradesh, Heena Kumawat from Film Window, and Shudh Manorangan, a YouTube channel, as reported by .
The court said that a blanket order against media personnel for defaming Shetty could have a “very chilling effect on the freedom of the press". Granting certain reliefs, the court directed one video to be taken down and noted that two videos had been removed by the defendants and should not be reuploaded.
Towards the start of the hearing, Judge Gautam S Patel observed that Shetty had chosen a life in the public eye. He asked her lawyer if they thought that if people could not say anything nice about Shetty, should they not say anything at all?
The judge also said that news reports based on police sources "is never defamation".