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Delhi HC issues summons to Sanjay Raut, Uddhav and Aditya Thackeray in a defamation suit filed by Shiv Sena leader Rahul Shewale

Shewale sued Raut and others for defamation after they made claims that the Eknath Shinde faction had paid Rs. 2000 crores to "buy the Shiv Sena symbol".

In a defamation case brought by Rahul Ramesh Shewale, a leader in the Eknath Shinde Faction of the Shiv Sena, the Delhi High Court has summoned Sanjay Raut, Uddhav Thackeray, and Aditya Thackeray. The respondents have been asked to submit their responses and the interim applications to the lawsuit, Justice Prateek Jalan did not issue an order for temporary relief.

Shewale sued Raut and others for defamation after they made claims that the Eknath Shinde faction had paid Rs. 2000 crores to “buy the Shiv Sena symbol”.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayyar, who was representing Shewale, asked the court to issue an injunction order to stop Raut and others from making any more false accusations. Nevertheless, Justice Prateek Jalan stated that a decision won’t be made until the parties have responded.

“These are political fights going on…as far as the institutions are concerned, Election commission’s shoulders are broad enough to deal with all this. Like the courts, people say all kinds of things about the commission,” Justice Jalan orally remarked.

While Nayar stated that the accusations shock the court’s conscience, the court stated, “The question is not whether it shocks my conscience or not. The question is that in the free marketplace of ideas, are people entitled to say things which might shock my conscience?”

The Court further said, “Mr Nayar I’m not going to say whether the accusations are true or false right now. I’m merely saying that after I have an affidavit on file, I’ll decide on that issue. On day one, I don’t want to impose a gag rule”.

In Shewale’s request for an interim injunction, the court also requested responses from the defendants, including Google and Twitter, and set a hearing date for April 17.

Earlier in January, for failing to appear in court for a defamation case brought against him by Medha Somaiya, the wife of BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, a court in Maharashtra had issued a non-bailable warrant against Sanjay Raut. The Sewri metropolitan magistrate had issued the warrant.

Somaiya had filed a court petition, alleging that Raut’s allegations that she and her husband were complicit in a Rs 100 crore scam involving the building and upkeep of public restrooms in the Mira Bhayander neighbourhood outside of Mumbai were unfounded and defamatory.

The Delhi High Court’s decision to issue summons to the Shiv Sena leaders has created ripples in Maharashtra’s political circles, given the high profile of the parties involved. The case is likely to generate significant public interest as it unfolds in the coming months.

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