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Malik assures HC not to make public statements against Wankhede family till Dec 9

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Mumbai, Nov 25: Maharashtra Minister, Nawab Malik said that he would not make public statements or tweet against Dnyandev Wankhede, father of NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, and his family members "directly or indirectly through any means of publicity. The assurance was made before The Bombay High Court.

Malik assures HC not to make public statements against Wankhede family till Dec 9

The matter will be heard next on December 9. A Bench comprising Justices S J Kathawalla and M N Jadhav are hearing an appeal filed by Wankhede seeking to restrain Malik by making statements against him and his family. The Single Judge Bench had however rejected his plea, following which he preferred an appeal before the Division Bench.

In his appeal mentioned before a division bench led by Justice S.J. Kathawala, Dnyandev Wankhede contended that since the single-judge bench had held that Malik's statements against Sameer Wankhede had stemmed out of malice, the Minister should have been restrained from continuing making defamatory comments against him and his family.

He requested the division bench that pending the final disposal of his appeal, the High Court pass an order of temporary injunction restraining Malik and his agents from making any defamatory comments against the Wankhedes.

On Monday, a single-judge bench of Justice Madhav Jamdar had refused to grant the Wankhede senior any interim relief in his defamation suit filed against Malik, a leader of Maharashtra's ruling party NCP.

Malik has been raising a slew of allegations against Sameer Wankhede after the Mumbai NCB team allegedly seized drugs from a cruise ship earlier last month.

Challenging the November 22 order, Dnyandev Wankhede said the single-judge bench had been wrong in denying him interim relief in his defamation suit filed against Nawab Malik.

In his appeal mentioned before the division bench, Dnyandev Wankhede said that the appeal was being filed only to a limited extent as he was aggrieved and dissatisfied by the findings recorded by the single-judge bench in its order.

"The prayer for injunction was rejected under the impression that the plaintiff was seeking the same in a blanket manner which was not the case," the appeal reads.

He said that the interviews given to news channels, and statements and social media posts etc., made by Malik against the Wankhedes were "highly defamatory, and libellous" as the same contained "incorrect facts, innuendos, and conclusions." They were a "deliberate attempt on Malik's part to knowingly and maliciously defame" him, his son Sameer, and his family, Dnyandev Wankhede said in the appeal.

Malik's statements not just caused an irreparable loss to his and his family members' reputation but also breached their right to live with their dignity intact.

He said the single-judge bench failed to appreciate that besides Sameer Wankhede, no one in the family is a public official, and therefore, their lives were not up for public scrutiny.

The appeal claims that after concluding that Malik's statements and social media posts had been actuated by malice and animosity, the bench shouldn't have denied relief to Dnyandev Wankhede.

Despite noting that Malik had made statements without verifying them first, the High Court "should not have granted him a free reign to continue his tweets etc", the appeal said.

Dnyandev Wankhhede further contended that the single-judge bench's conclusion that accusations could not be considered as totally false was wrong since it had itself held that they were made without due verification.

His appeal is likely to be heard by the division bench on Thursday.

In his interim application seeking such relief from the single-judge bench, Dnyandev Wankhede had cited Malik's tweets and public statements in which the latter had alleged among other things, that Sameer Wankhede was born a Muslim but had falsely claimed that he belonged to a designated scheduled caste to secure his central government job.

Sameer Wankhede had denied all the allegations. The Wankhede senior had sought an interim relief that Malik should be prohibited from making any defamatory statements or tweets, social media posts etc. against him, Sameer Wankhede, or any of their family members.

Justice Jamdar, however, had held that imposing such a blanket prohibition upon Mr. Malik was not possible in the present case.

The single-judge bench had held that though it seemed apparent that Mr. Malik's statements and tweets against the NCB officer had actuated out of malice and animosity, the allegations the minister had made against Sameer Wankhede did not seem prima facie (on the face of it) to be completely false.

The bench, however, had also said that the State Minister had made several such statements before verifying facts and had directed Mr. Malik to henceforth make public statements or comments against Mr. Wankhede and his family only after a reasonable verification of facts.

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