The lawsuit was brought in response to a reportedly defamatory story in the Marathi publication Saamna that accused Medha Somaiya of being involved in an INR100 crore toilet scam.
Medha Somaiya, the wife of BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, has filed a civil defamation suit in Bombay High Court against Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, seeking Rs 100 crore in damages for publishing an allegedly defamatory article in the Marathi publication ‘Saamna.’
Editor-in-Chief of Saamna is Raut. The issue started after Somaiya came across an allegedly defamatory article accusing her of being implicated in an INR 100 crores toilet scandal, and the Maharashtra government received a report to that effect from Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Chahal. Somaiya has installed unauthorized toilets without permission from the concerned environmental authorities.
Other print and electronic media picked up on the defamatory item, according to the complaint.
“The impression sought to be created by these defendants (Raut) in the mind of the public at large that the plaintiff has committed toilet scam of ₹100 crore. …these defendants have denigrated, tarnished image of the plaintiff in the eyes of the general public, etc. …such imputation which by itself harms her reputation is per-se defamatory and actionable,”.Contented the plaint
According to the lawsuit, the story implied that:
Somaiya has defrauded a large sum of money.
She has embezzled public funds;
That woman is stealing money while pretending to build toilets; and
Her non-profit organisation, Yuva Pratisthan, is a fake nd fradulent.
Somaiya issued Raut a notice through her lawyer, requesting that he apologise unconditionally and abstain from making any baseless allegations.
She then wrote to the Mulund Senior Inspector of Police, requesting that a first information report (FIR) be filed against Raut for uttering defamatory allegations.
Somaiya filed a criminal defamation charge against Raut before the Metropolitan Magistrate in Mazgaon, Mumbai, despite the fact that no FIR had been filed.
She subsequently filed a separate civil suit for damages in the Bombay High Court.
Somaiya underlined in the plea submitted through law firm Solicis Lex that the story about the alleged defamatory words and utterances was manufactured solely for the purpose of sensationalism, with no regard for the truth, and with the intent to destroy the image and generate wrongful benefits.
In light of this, she petitioned before the High Court for the following reliefs:
To order Raut to deposit INR 100 crore in the Chief Minister Relief Fund or any other fund the Court deems appropriate;
To order Raut to issue a comprehensive and unequivocal apology to Somaiya, as well as to retract the published piece, all of which should be prominently printed on the front page of the newspaper;
Order a permanent injunction prohibiting Raut from writing or republishing any defamatory articles on the plaintiff.