New Delhi, Jan 10: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed journalist and YouTuber Shyam Meera Singh to take down a video about Dera Saccha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim Singh from all social media platforms, considering it prima facie defamatory.
The court granted liberty to Singh to upload a new video with a disclaimer quoting content from the trial court judgement on Rahim's conviction and the book titled “Dera Sacha Sauda and Gurmeet Ram Rahim” by Anurag Tripathi.
The order comes in response to a defamation suit filed by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
The court noted that the video contained material based on the trial court's judgement and passages from the book but lacked a disclaimer.
Singh was instructed to remove the video within 24 hours and allowed to upload a revised version with the necessary disclaimer.
During the hearing, Ram Rahim Singh's counsel expressed concerns about the global accessibility of the video and its potential impact on the right to a fair trial, especially considering the timing coinciding with Singh's appeal against conviction.
Singh's counsel argued that the video merely quoted content from the trial court's judgement and the mentioned book.
The court directed the removal of the video and provided the option for a revised version with the required disclaimer.
On Monday, the HC had expressed its displeasure over a tweet by Singh, saying that he was putting a video related to Gurmeet Ram Rahim in private mode out of compulsion.
During the previous hearing, the court had asked Meera to delete his tweets against the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.
On Monday, the court warned Meera of contempt if such statements were repeated in the future, stressing the need to respect the court's dignity.
Justice Jasmeet Singh clarified that the court did not compel Meera to make the video private, and any such portrayal would be considered a serious matter.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on January 10.
On December 29, 2023, the court had issued a notice to Meera in response to a defamation plea, which seeks directions to the defendant to remove his YouTube video alleging that Ram Rahim deceived his followers.
In 2017, Ram Rahim was handed 20 years in prison for allegedly raping two women disciples. In 2019, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his employee Ranjit Singh. In 2021, the Dera chief was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist.
Vacation judge Manoj Jain had directed the defendant (Shyam) to delete the tweets that were posted by him.
"While the matter is sub judice, no further tweets…I want you to be responsible. If he is a journalist, he needs to be responsible. Please do not make any tweets which interfere with the justice delivery system," he had remarked.
However, the judge had not pass any orders directing Meera to delete the video published on YouTube.
Ram Rahim initiated the legal action against Meera for a video uploaded on December 17, 2023, titled "How Gurmeet Ram Rahim fooled his bhakts?"
As Meera’s counsel had sought time to file a reply, and the court said it will consider Ram Rahim’s plea for interim directions after counsel file their reply.
Earlier, Justice Shalinder Kaur had also issued a notice to the YouTuber, specifying that notice would be served through email and WhatsApp, and listed the case for further hearing on December 30.
Advocate Rajat Aneja, representing Ram Rahim, had argued that Meera, despite receiving a legal notice, refused to delete the video and has a history of such offences. He cited a post on X by Meera on December 24, acknowledging the notice but expressing intent to fight the case in court.