Scandal, Defamation and injury to Reputation

Right to Good reputation is part of 

Fundamental right of life and freedom of expression

A forged letter used to make defamatory complaint:

A letter dated 22.4.2011 purported to have been written by Shri M.A. Khan, M.P., suggests that various properties had been purchased by respondent no.2 as benami and the copies of the sale deeds etc. filed alongwith the said letter fortify the same. The Government of India wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of A.P. on 5.5.2011 to conduct an enquiry in respect of alleged disproportionate assets Continue reading “Scandal, Defamation and injury to Reputation”

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Defamation of Godman!

Godman Nirmal Baba required protection of the Court

Introduction of Godman Nirmal Baba

Nirmal Baba, former name Nirmaljit Singh Nirula, was born in 1952 in Samana, India, near Patiala Punjab, to a Namdhari Sikh family and is the youngest of two brothers and three sisters. He grew up in Palamau, Jharkhand after his parents shifted there in the fifties. He is married to Sushma Narula and has a daughter and a son.
Nirmaljit Singh began his brick kiln business in 1981. However, he suffered losses and following this, he started a cloth shop but again failed in his venture. He was then involved in mining of Kyanite from Jyoti Hill, Jharkhand in 1998–1999. He claims to have attained nirvana in a Jharkhand jungle in the 1980s. He then cut his Sikh hair, shaved off his beard and adopted the name Nirmal Baba. (source: Wikipedia) It may be noted that renunciation is alien to Sikhism.

Godman or Sikh Monk?

India, the land of Godmen and Sadhus:

Our country was perceived as the land of the sadhus and saints since time immemorial where karma and spirituality took precedence over economic development. Though we have come a long way, as the world anointed us as the next economic superpower, the mystical sadhus and the Godmen have not left the picture, the difference may be that some of the sadhus travel by a private jet and have a turnover worth crores making even the business tycoons feel jittery. The superstitions and  beliefs of people are manifested in various forms like astrology, witchcraft, different therapies and the like. The God Market that has come about in India has struck a chord abroad and the Babas and saints, innumerable and diverse have a tutelage they boast of including a nobody to a celebrity. Whether India or abroad, people all over are afflicted with problems, different in magnitude and type but for each of them, their individual problem or misery, is the biggest crisis of their lives and anyone who can claim to heal or provide a shortcut to alleviate their pain and suffering occupies the stature of God in their lives . The people who are followers of various saints and Godmen believe in their miraculous healing powers through which bodily afflictions or mental agony or pain gets cured. This is opposed to the earlier view where the saint shared a relation of a guru and a disciple and the guru was the master and teacher of various scriptures but now some of them claim to have mystical powers and claim to know the inner worlds and minds of their followers. It is the stories of their miraculous healing that make them what they are and the media augments their cause further. These Godmen resort to various methods and each of them claim to be unique and have an individual connection with the Almighty. Let this not be understood to mean that there is dearth of saints who enjoy real spiritual powers and are alleviated souls. Such saints often live a life in oblivion. To quote an example Swami Dayanand Saraswati who was a great spiritual leader and a social reformer found his Spiritual Guru in a blind man, named, Swami Virjanand, who lived in a hut, and after having received lessons at the feet of his spiritual Guru, he asked him as to what he could offer him as Guru-Dakshina- the Guru replied “Spread my message to the world and that will be my Guru Dakshina”. Such were the saints that this country have produced and known.
This court cannot help but sound a word of caution that this sudden resurgence of the babas who claims to have mystical powers and give all kind of illogical solutions to overcome the miseries of people has amplified and glorified superstition and has turned the clock back of development in our country.

Magical remedies of Godman:

In the present case on perusing through the content of the website of the defendants placed on record, it appears that the defendants have a series of articles against the plaintiff calling him names like “thug baba”, “Chor”, “fraud nirmal darbar”, darbar as “thug darbar”. Not commenting on the veracity of the allegations levelled against the plaintiff, the defendants have in the opinion of this court gone a step ahead of its rights of freedom of press. It also cannot be forgotten that the reach of the internet as a medium is vast and far reaching than print and electronic and the click of a mouse can disseminate in a split second the views of anyone. Having said this, the plaintiff who claims himself to be a Baba and Spiritual Guide and through his Samagams and telecast of his discourses through various T.V. Channels, like other public figures is under constant public and media gaze, should not be sensitive to and rather should be open to criticism and scrutiny.
The plaintiff advising his disciples in the Samagams and through media, millions of people watching television to open black purses at the time of showering of his blessings then the same will result in inflow of money to them and likewise to tell people to eat Rabri, Masala Dosa or Paani Poori to overcome their miseries, are the kind of solutions which are highly irrational, weird and unacceptable to commonsensical notions, bound to result in backlash by the media and other such agencies. This is exactly what has happened that the plaintiff Nirmal Baba because of his totally illogical and unacceptable solutions, he is being termed as fraudster, Thag, Natwar Lal and so on and so forth by the defendants. The plaintiff cannot expect the media to be a silent spectator and to allow such a  person to exploit the sentiments of the people who in their innocence would easily believe in whatever such kind of Babas tell their disciples to do.

Conditional injunction against defamation.

It is a fit case for the grant of a conditional injunction. The defendants are accordingly restrained from licensing, writing, publishing, hosting or advertising any defamatory material against the plaintiff on their website or through any other print/electronic media to defame the reputation of the plaintiff subject to the condition that the plaintiff also restrains himself in future from giving any kind of absurd or illogical solutions to his disciples and others, and, confines his discourses to all such kind of teachings through which the life of common man can improve and improve in the right direction.

Nirmaljit Singh Narula vs Sh. Yashwant Singh (Delhi High Court)