The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked businessman Jay Shah and the journalists of The Wire to consider settling a criminal defamation case that the former had filed against the news website, PTI reported. A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra extended a previous order asking a court in Gujarat not to initiate criminal defamation proceedings against the website.
The bench will next hear the case in the first week of July for “final disposal” if the matter is settled.
Jay Shah, who is Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah’s son, filed the criminal defamation case against The Wire in October 2017 after it published a story alleging that the revenues of his company grew massively within a year of the party coming to power in 2014.
The website moved the Supreme Court after the Gujarat High Court refused to quash the case. The High Court had said the report was prima facie defamatory and the journalists would have to face trial. On March 15, the Supreme Court issued an order restraining proceedings in the Gujarat magistrate court, and later extended it on April 12. On Wednesday, the court extended the order till the next hearing.
“Without opening the file, we want to ask senior counsel of both sides to sit together and try to sort it out,” the bench said.
According to The Wire, its counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan said the article was a factual report published keeping in view the website’s duty to inform citizens, and so it was not clear what the settlement could be. Jay Shah’s counsel reportedly said his client was “open to a settlement”.
Jay Shah has filed a civil defamation suit as well, seeking Rs 100 crore in damages from the website.