The Delhi High Court on Friday directed Congres leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza to remove, within 24 hours, allegedly defamatory social media posts related to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani and her daughter Zoish Irani, Bar and Bench reported.

The court also issued notices to the three leaders seeking their reply on the civil defamation suit filed by the Union minister.

On July 24, Smriti Irani had sent legal notices to the Congress leaders after they demanded her resignation following reports that claimed that a Goa restaurant, allegedly run by her daughter, had obtained an illegal liquor licence. However, Zoish Irani’s lawyer, Kirat Nagra, claimed that his client neither owns nor operates the restaurant.

On Friday, the Delhi High Court asked the Congress leaders to remove all related tweets, retweets, posts, videos and photos from social media. It also directed social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to remove them in case the Congress leaders fail to do so, according to PTI.

Justice Mini Pushkarna said that it prima facie appears that “slanderous allegations” were made against Smriti Irani and Zoish Irani without verifying actual facts, The Indian Express reported.

“Grave injury has been caused to the reputation of the plaintiff in view of the tweets and retweets carried due to the press conference of the defendants,” Justice Pushkarna said.

Meanwhile, Ramesh said that the party will present its side to the court.

“The Delhi High Court has issued a notice asking us to formally reply to the case filed by Smriti Irani,” Ramesh wrote in a tweet. “We look forward to presenting the facts before the court. We will challenge and disprove the spin being put out by Ms. Irani.”

The matter so far

The controversy about the restaurant erupted on July 21 after Goa Excise Commissioner Narayan M Gad had issued a show cause notice to Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, allegedly run by Zoish Irani.

The licence was allegedly registered in the name of a Mumbai resident identified as Anthony Dgama. However, Gad’s notice said that the liquor licence was renewed in June, even though Dgama died on May 17, 2021.

As Irani denied owning the establishment, Congress leader Khera referred to a Moneycontrol article – a review of the restaurant by food critic Kunal Vijayakar that had named the minister’s daughter as its owner. Smriti Irani had shared the review on her Instagram handle, saying she was “so proud”.