Supreme Court Sets Aside Order Directing Bloomberg To Remove Zee Article

Writing five pages doesn't show that an application of mind was made, the bench says.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Source: Supreme Court of India website)</p></div>
(Source: Supreme Court of India website)

The Supreme Court set aside a trial court's order that directed Bloomberg LP to take down an article, which alleged a $241-million financial irregularity at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

The top court observed on Friday that the trial court's order seems to lack a prima facie application of mind. Even the high court's order upholding the trial court directive has been passed without adequate reasoning, it said.

"Writing five pages doesn't show that an application of mind was made," said a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

While granting a mandatory injunction of this nature, the court has to record that there was more than a prima facie case for granting the injunction, according to the bench.

It said the error committed by the trial judge had been perpetuated by the high court as they both merely recorded that a prima facie case exists for a grant of injunction, the balance of convenience lies in Zee's favour and that an irreparable injury would be caused if an injunction is not granted.

The apex court directed the trial court to hear the matter and pass a reasoned order. The case is likely to come up for a hearing before the trial judge on March 26. 

In a media statement to NDTV Profit, Bloomberg's spokesperson said that the business media house was very encouraged by the decision, and it continues to stand by this story.

On March 1, a trial court in Delhi issued an order directing removal of a news report that alleged a $241-million accounting irregularity at Zee was uncovered by SEBI. Zee had contended that the article contained "unverified claims" and improperly linked it to certain SEBI orders.

This prompted Bloomberg to move the high court, saying that it was an "unreasoned order" and was passed without its presence. The high court had also refused any relief to the media major and ordered removal of the article from its website.

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