Ahmedabad court lifts gag order on The Wire story on BJP president Amit Shah’s son

Ahmedabad: An Ahmedabad civil court on Saturday lifted the interim injunction imposed on news website The Wire in the wake of its recent story on the meteoric rise in the business activities of BJP president Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah the year after Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

The court had imposed a gag order on The Wire, barring it from publishing any content “directly or indirectly” related to Jay Shah or his Temple Enterprises. The Wire had challenged the injunction on the grounds that it represented an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of the press, and that there was nothing defamatory about the original article which was based entirely on public records and information provided by Jay Shah.

The article, titled The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah, had said the turnover of a company owned by Jay Shah — Temple Enterprise Pvt Ltd — “increased 16,000 times over in the year following the election of Narendra Modi as prime minister”.

Jay Shah had filed a defamation case against The Wire in October, after which the Ahmedabad court had originally on October 12 granted Jay Shah an all-encompassing stay order which prevented ‘The Wire’, its editors and the author of the story, ‘The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah’, from taking the story any further.

The court has now lifted all the restrictions except the use of words (after) “Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister/elected as Prime Minister” in relation to any debate on the original article on Jay Shah and The Wire is free to publish content on his business and public activities.

Jay Shah’s counsel sought an extension of one more month of the original injunction until they moved a higher court. However, the civil court was willing to grant them 15 days, ‘The Wire’ opposed any more extension of even a day.

The press release from the web portal stated, “Today’s decision by the civil court is a vindication of The Wire’s fundamental stand that its article ‘The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah’ was a legitimate exercise of the freedom of expression in the public interest.”