Courts Update IMA religion row: Delhi HC reserves verdict

IMA religion row: Delhi HC reserves verdict

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New Delhi, Jun 18 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court has reserved its judgement in an appeal filed by IMA President Dr JA Jayalal, challenging the order passed by the Trial Court, directing the appellant not to use the platform of Indian Medical Association (IMA) for propagating any religion and to maintain the dignity of the position.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Asha Menon on Wednesday heard the counsels for both sides at length against the June 3 order passed by the Additional District Judge (ADJ), Dwarka Courts, New Delhi, and reserved the order.

The Court observed that the disputed paragraphs of the order are all opinion of the Court. “How can we comment upon style of writing of a Court?,” remarked the Bench.

During the course of arguments, Senior Advocate Mukul Gupta, appearing on behalf of the appellant, submitted that the entire reading of the order puts an onus in negative on Dr Jayalal.

He said that only one interview was given by Dr Jayalal to Christianity Today on March 30, 2021 in his personal capacity, expressing his personal view, and that nothing was said against any religion or against Ayurveda or regarding conversion of medical students, doctors and patients to Christianity.

It contained nothing defamatory or against the Constitution, as noted in the order, said Mr Gupta, adding that on the same day, a fake news article with the heading “In the Name of the Great Physician” was created, which was alleged to have been published by the website Haggai International, projecting that Dr Jayalal had given the interview to Haggai International, alleging that the appellant wanted to use his position for Christian Missionary activities.

On May 29, 2021, the respondent filed a suit for damages and defamation and for permanent injunction against the appellant on the ground of creating public nuisance and misleading the nation and its citizens.

While rebutting the claim of the respondent in respect to the interview given to Haggai International, Mr Gupta said that there is an e-mail from Haggai International, which states that no such interview was given by the appellant. He further submitted that the suit filed by the respondent herein was not maintainable and barred under Section 91 CPC as well as under Section 41(f) of Specific Relief Act (SRA).

Per contra, the Counsel for the respondent submitted that the present appeal is only to the extent of challenging the order passed by the Trial Court, as is evident from the prayer of the appeal.

He contended that an article appeared on Nation World News, which highlighted his views against Hindu nationalism, based on which the Trial Court passed the order. He further contended that the interview given to Christianity Today has been taken from the one given to Haggai International and posted after editing certain portions.

Furthermore, he submitted that Haggai international and Christianity Today are part and parcel of the same group, as both have a few Board of Directors in common.

Mr Gupta said the appellant is the present National President of IMA, a society registered to uphold the interest of the medical profession and to promote co-operation amongst the members.

It is alleged in the plea that the said suit is not maintainable as it is barred under Section 91 CPC, under Articles 19 and 25 of the Constitution and thereby, deserved to be rejected. It is further alleged that the said suit is based on a news article which is false, and that the respondent herein has no locus standi to maintain the suit as no actual cause of action arose in favour of the respondent herein to sue the defendant. ILNS/BG/RJ

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