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News reports based on police sources can't be termed defamatory: Bombay High Court on Shilpa Shetty case

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Friday while hearing actor Shilpa Shetty's defamation case said that news reports based on police sources cannot be termed as malicious and defamatory.

The court further told the plaintiff's lawyer that what the actor was expecting from it will have serious consequences on the freedom of the press.

"Now do you expect the court to sit back and check what sources media houses are citing for every single story?" the court told Shilpa's lawyer.

The court further said, "You give me individual examples of defendants saying malicious things, I will look into it. But, news reports based on police sources cannot be called malicious and defamatory. What you are expecting me to do will have very serious consequences on freedom of press."

"If somebody says anything about Shilpa Shetty, it becomes a big thing, why? what's so great about it. This is not a law that we have come to a conjecture that it's defamatory," said the court.

"If you are in public life, it comes with such consequences. People are interested in your life. How can someone writing that she cried and had a fight with her husband be defamatory?" asked the court.

The court adjourned the hearing post-lunch till 2.30 pm and asked her layers to come with exact details on which she wants to argue the defamation case.

Shilpa Shetty had on Thursday filed a defamation suit in Bombay High Court against 29 media personnel and media houses accusing them of "false reporting and maligning her image" following the arrest of her husband Raj Kundra in a case connected with creation and distribution of pornographic content.

The actor's plea also directed that the defendants be ordered and directed to pay to the plaintiff (Shilpa Shetty) an amount of Rs 20 crore together with interest thereon at 18 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the suit until payment and/or realisation.

Shetty urged the High Court to issue a "permanent and mandatory injunction restraining the defendants, (themselves and through their servants, agents, assigns and/or any person claiming by or through them) from making and/or publishing and/or reproducing and/or circulating and/or speaking and/or communicating, any derogatory and defamatory statements.

She also requested the High Court to issue a mandatory order directing the defendants to forthwith delete and/or remove the defamatory articles and the defamatory videos from their respective websites and social media platforms and to issue an unconditional apology.

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