The Supreme Court of India had rejected on Friday, the AAP functionary Raghav Chadha’s petition to save himself from the trial in a Rs 10-crore defamation case which was filed by the finance minister Arun Jaitley against the AAP Neta and five others, which includes, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the basis of the fact that there is no law which makes a retweet defamatory.
Raghav Chadha’s counsel supported him stating that there is no law which can prosecute a retweet for alledged defamation, Mr Grover who is the counsel of Raghav Chadha stated that, “There is no law and no ruling by any court in the world declaring that re-tweet of a tweet amounts to publication of defamatory material which could be liable for prosecution.”
After which a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and A M Khanwilkar had disagreed on Grover’s contention. Justice Chandrachud had said, “Take for example a tweet which is per se derogatory, abusive or contains graphic pornographic material. Can one who re-tweets such a tweet say he has only re-tweeted the material and is not the author of it and hence should not face prosecution?”
To which Justice Chandrachud had said if one who re-tweets something he cannot be completely oblivious to the contents of the tweet if the tweet is highly derogatory and pornographic.
Raghav Chadha’s counsel, Grover, said that a re-tweet is an issue which is covered under the Information Technology Act and because Section 66A was then deleted by the apex court in the case of Shreya Singhal, there is also no provision in the IT Act which can prosecute defamation.
He gave out a statement saying, “Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code cannot apply to an alleged offence under the Information Technology Act.”
Talking against Raghav Chadha’s counsel, Grover’s plea stating that defamation is not covered under the IT Act, a senior advocate named Mukul Rohatgi, who is representing Jaitley had said, “Does the petitioner mean that he can go on defaming people on Twitter and not face any prosecution? A field of law on defamation stands covered under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC and naturally it would apply to prosecute people who commit the offence of defamation.”