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Swatanter Kumar defamation case fixed for 19 May; PTI reports 3rd parties not bound by photo gag

The next hearing will be on 19 May in the Delhi high court case filed by Swatanter Kumar against three media companies and an NUJS Kolkata graduate, who alleged the former Supreme Court judge had sexually harrassed her while she interned with him, reported the PTI.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said yesterday: “Pleadings shall be complete within four weeks from today. Rejoinder/replication shall be filed three weeks thereafter. Fix it for hearing on May 19.”

The intern has filed written statement in sealed cover and the respondent newspaper publisher and two TV station owners have also filed their replies to the petition, according to the PTI.

The PTI reported that the Delhi high court had passed an order on 16 January 2014 that everyone would only be allowed to report on the allegations against Kumar if it was made clear that they were mere allegations.

Furthermore, the PTI wrote that the three defendants were ordered to delete “offending” contents and Kumar's photograph from their websites:

The court had said adverse publicity against judges should be "handled with care and caution" as it may prejudice people's faith in the higher judiciary.

"The defendants (three media houses and woman law intern), their agents, assigns or any of them acting on their behalf and/or any other person, entity, in print or electronic media or internet are:

"Restrained from further publishing the write-ups as mentioned ... Of the documents file or publishing any article or write-up and telecast which highlights the allegations against the plaintiff in the form of headlines connecting or associating plaintiff with those allegations, particularly, without disclosing in the headlines of article that they are mere allegations against the plaintiff or any other similar nature of articles, write-up and telecast," it had said in the interim order.

Besides the law intern, two English news channels and an English daily were made parties by Justice Kumar.

The court had asked them to delete the "offending" contents and the photograph of Justice Kumar from "internet or other electronic media" within 24 hours and file a compliance report within a week.

The next hearing in the PIL filed by the intern against Kumar and the Supreme Court, in which she has asked the apex court to investigate her allegations and institute a permanent mechanism to hear similar complaints against judges, has been fixed for 26 March.

[Full disclosure: Legally India was served with a legal notice by Kumar's lawyers in January claiming that third parties were prohibited from publishing Kumar's photo.]

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