No Restraint On Free Communication During Elections: Delhi High Court

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw declined to pass an order to direct a newspaper and Google to take down alleged defamatory content relating to a candidate

No Restraint On Free Communication During Elections: Delhi High Court

The court said the candidate is still accused of molestation and sexual harassment

New Delhi:

No restraint can be made on free communication during election, the Delhi High Court has said while refusing to stop a person from circulating messages on social media against a candidate contesting the Delhi assembly election.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw declined to pass an order to direct a newspaper and Google to take down alleged defamatory content relating to the candidate.

The court was hearing a plea by a BJP leader, seeking to restrain the newspaper, Google and others from publishing the alleged defamatory material against him.

His lawyer said a WhatsApp sender be restrained from circulating messages that the candidate was accused of rape, as he has been acquitted by a court in Delhi.

The High Court said though the candidate has been acquitted of rape, he is still accused of other crimes like molestation and sexual harassment.

"The court certainly cannot by its order, direct the allegedly defamatory material to be so dissected," the court said. "It has been held that during election and campaigning for elections, a lot of claims and speeches are made and at least the candidates contesting the election cannot be bound by the promises made by them to the electorate and on the same parity, I feel that any restraint on free communication during the process of election is not envisaged under the law relating to elections," the judge said.

The court issued summons to the parties on the suit and listed it for further hearing on February 19.

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