A court in Srinagar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday restrained activist Shehla Rashid’s father and the media from publishing, telecasting or broadcasting defamatory content about her private life, or anything that is intrusive of her right to live with dignity and honour, reported Bar and Bench.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Shehla Rashid, her mother Zubeida Akhter and sister Asma Rashid, alleging that her father Abdul Rashid Shora was taking every opportunity to defame and lower their reputations by levelling “false and frivolous” allegations against them, including calling them “anti-national elements”. The defendants include Shora, certain media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google.
Judge Fayaz Ahmad Qureshi said it was his prima facie opinion that the material published against Rashid, her mother and sister was violative of their right to privacy and their right to live with dignity.
The court directed Shora and other defendants to refrain from causing any interference in Shehla Rashid’s life and “from publishing any material, which has the potential to cause harassment, agony and pain” to her.
It also ordered media outlets and social media platforms from publishing matters concerning the private matrimonial dispute between Shehla Rashid’s parents. Towards this end, the court asked outlets to suspend online links that contain content, “which intrudes on the plaintiff’s right to privacy or which is defamatory”. “The media is also under a legal duty to ascertain the truth and abstain from reporting on a matter which has a potential of infringement of right to privacy or other rights of the plaintiff,” the court said.
The court added that media outlets had no legal justification to highlight a private issue of the family, when the matter was being dealt with by a court. The media’s actions, therefore, amount to “the perpetuation of a civil wrong and an infringement of the rights of the plaintiffs”, it said.
The judge further noted that Shora had violated an order passed by a lower court under the Domestic Violence Act that restrained him from harassing Shehla Rashid, her mother and sister. Shora’s conduct, the judge said, appeared unjustified and without a sound legal basis.