Reliance Jio has dragged the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) into a legal battle for allegedly making certain objectionable and defamatory statements against it, prompting the Delhi High Court (HC) to ask the association to refrain from using “disparaging” remarks.
Justice Yogesh Khanna issued a notice to COAI and its director general Rajan S Mathews on a suit filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd seeking to prevent and restrain them from continuing to make “maliciously false, disparaging and defamatory statements” against it.
Saying a prima facie case is made out. Mathews and the counsel for the association argued that whatever comments have been passed were “fair” and did not fall within the purview of the definition of defamation.
The judge, however, said “I doubt whether the phrases/words used … would fall within the phrase of fair comment and hence the plaintiff (Jio) has been able to make out a prima facie case and thus the defendants (COAI and Mathews) to file written statement/ reply to application … in four weeks, in the meanwhile, the defendants should refrain from (making) disparaging and defamatory statements, like the ‘words’, stated above against the plaintiff,”
The suit claimed that the association in a press release on 25 September 2016 had made certain objectionable statements against Reliance Jio and did it again in February this year, causing harm to the reputation of the company.