The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass an interim order in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir in a defamation suit filed by him against Hindi newspaper Punjab Kesari.

“You are an elected person, a public servant, you need not be so sensitive,” Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said, The Indian Express reported. “Any public person should be thick-skinned...Nowadays judges should also be thick-skinned.”

In his defamation plea, the cricketer-turned-politician sought Rs 2 crore in damages from the newspaper for publishing “false and malicious” articles about him, according to PTI. Gambhir had urged the court to direct Punjab Kesari to tender an unconditional apology and publish it in all the newspapers circulated by the group.

He had also sought removal of the allegedly defamatory articles from the newspaper’s website.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Singh said that the articles highlighted by Gambhir gave an impression that the reporter of the newspaper was after him and that some of the words used for the BJP leader may not be appropriate, reported Bar and Bench.

“Upon a bare reading of the impugned news articles, this court is of the prima facie opinion that many of these articles are indicative of willful campaign launched by the defendants to lower the reputation of standing of the plaintiff in the eyes of his constituents, supporters and the public at large,” the judge added.

The court, however, said that it could not issue a blanket order and issued notices to the daily, its editor and three reporters to respond to the suit, reported PTI.

Advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, who appeared on behalf of Gambhir, argued that the articles against his client were beyond the purview of fair and objective reporting.

“Nasty averments were made against Gambhir and it seemed the media house was on some sort of mission,” Dehadrai said. “It was not doing fair or objective reporting.”

Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao, appearing on behalf of the newspaper and its editor, said that several publications carried stories on Gambhir on similar lines but he has only filed the defamation case against Punjab Kesari.

“They should explain, are they saying don’t report on me unless Gautam Gambhir likes it?” he asked. “My friend is so touchy about Punjab Kesari, why is he not so touchy about other publications?”

The High Court posted the matter for further hearing on October 18.