Bombay High Court: Investigative Journalism Mustn't Defame Individuals, Rules in Defamation Suit

Bombay HC emphasizes press responsibility in defamation case: Khanjan Thakkar vs. Wahid Khan. Thakkar accuses Khan of circulating defamatory content, seeking Rs. 100 Crores in damages. Court grants interim injunction, orders removal of specific online posts.

In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court underscored the need to balance press freedom with an individual's right to reputation. Justice Bharati Dangre emphasized that while investigative journalism plays a crucial role, it must not entail defamation.

The court stated, "As a journalist, though duty-bound to inform the public, it cannot be at the expense of defaming the Plaintiff. Freedom of press must be balanced against an individual's right to reputation."

Regarding investigative journalism, the court asserted, "It does not enjoy special protection, and public interest cannot justify publication that harms someone's reputation without factual basis."

The court granted an interim injunction in a defamation suit against investigative journalist Wahid Khan. Khanjan Thakkar, a gold trader, accused Khan of circulating defamatory content online, seeking damages of Rs. 100 Crores and a permanent injunction.

The case originated from an FIR alleging criminal offenses against Thakkar. Khan linked Thakkar to illegal activities, prompting Thakkar's defamation suit.

Despite Khan's claim of journalistic duty, the court found his content lacked factual support and cautioned against transgressing the boundaries of free speech.

The court granted Thakkar's interim application, restraining Khan from publishing defamatory material and ordering the removal of specific content from online platforms.